|THE refusal by Prosecutor General (PG), Johannes Tomana, to allow private prosecution of two cases is a result of concern that this could set a precedent for political violence and the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities, Zanu PF sources have said.[vsw id=”0ydmFhSf4eo” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]
Tomana was last week ordered by the country’s top court to issue private prosecution certificates for two cases involving Telecel Zimbabwe and the alleged rape of a minor by a senior Zanu PF official.
Tomana had refused to prosecute the cases alleging they were weak and also defied court orders to allow private prosecution.
Not impressed, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and the full Constitutional Court bench last week ordered the arrest of the PG if he does not issue the private prosecution certificates within ten days.
Zanu PF officials said Tomana’s refusal to comply with the court order with the backing of justice minister and vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa had not nothing to do with protection of the accused in both cases.
“The suggestion that Tomana and Mnangagwa are trying to protect Munyaradzi Kereke (the accused MP in the rape case) is ridiculous,” a Zanu PF official told NewZimbabwe.com Monday.
“Mnangagwa is not known for protecting anyone. The concern here is that allowing private prosecution of these two cases would set a precedent that could open a floodgate.”
He added: “You would be aware that Tomana was an outstanding issue during the coalition government.
“The MDCs wanted him out for refusing to prosecute cases of violence by Zanu PF and state agencies against opposition supporters.
“There is concern that once private prosecution is allowed in these two cases, the MDC’s might also seek to privately pursue cases of violence which Tomana has refused to deal with.
“And, who knows, others might also want to privately prosecute those accused in the Gukurahundi atrocities.”
Some 20,000 civilians are said to have been killed in the 1980s campaign by crack army unit in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have refused calls for resolution of the conflict, let alone tolerate prosecution of the accused.
Reacting to the Gukurahundi concern, higher education minister Jonathan Moyo said on Twitter: “Among the wackiest factionalist gibberish on Tomana’s con-Court conviction is the claim that it’ll inspire private Gukurahundi prosecution.”
UK-based legal expert and political commentator, Alex Magaisa, said the administration’s concern about a possible floodgate of private prosecutions understandable but misplaced.
“I’ve no doubt that is the fear from their side. The guilty are always afraid,” he told NewZimbabwe.com.
“But I don’t believe there was ever any risk of floodgates. It’s not as if the private prosecution facility is new.
“It has always been there in the law and lawyers for opposition parties and Gukurahundi survivors have always known about it but they have never sought to use it.”
Magaisa said the government may actually be alerting the opposition and Gukurahundi activists to the possibility for private prosecution.
“If anything, they are now giving them ideas which they probably never had,” he said.
“If the facility of private prosecution was new and unknown before now, I would understand that fear as credible but this has always existed and has not been used for a reason.”
Tomana had travelled to Russia on State business when the Constitutional Court issued its ruling. It remains unclear whether he will comply.
But President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba suggested that the veteran leader may have to intervene and resolve the quandary.
“The matter before us is much more complicated than has been framed in the media,” Charamba told State media earlier this week.
“It goes beyond parameters of institutions in question and it certainly goes beyond behaviours of persons involved.
“There are fundamental principles that are at stake and the remedies may go beyond actions by the conflicting institutions. Government is studying the matter very carefully.
“The legislature is exercised by the same matter and a solution might emerge from multiple perspectives not any one actor.”