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Outrage Over Militarization of Zimbabwe's Prosecuting Authority


The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has raised serious concern over the alleged militarization of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) urging parliament to urgently probe the development.

The presence of senior army officials emerged after deputy prosecutor general and director of the recently established NPA, Florence Ziyambi, was allegedly assaulted at her workplace by Colonel Solomon Siziba.

Siziba is the NPA director for administration and secretary of the NPA board.

There are also said to be at least two more officials from the army, a Major Msipa and Major Manyeruke.

The ZLHR questioned the presence of the army saying it is unconstitutional as Section 213 (2) (c) of the constitution states that the defense forces may only be deployed in support of other civilian authorities in the event of an emergency or disaster.

ZLHR has also taken government to court over the use of police prosecutors. Efforts to get a comment from Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana were futile as his mobile went unanswered.

But chairperson of the parliamentary legal committee, Jessie Majome, told VOA Studio 7 that her committee had already invited the Prosecutor General and Attorney General for hearings and stakeholders are welcome to raise the alleged militarization issue.

Executive Director Irene Petras of the ZLHR told VOA that the use of the military at a civilian authority is a cause for deep concern and undermines the independence of the NPA.

She added that the NPA is not able to carry out its duties impatially, fairly, equitably and without bias in accordance with section 194 (d) of the Constitution, without clear institutional independemce from the Zimbabwe National Army.

Zimbabweans have previously raised concern with the unconstitutional militarization of some institutions.

For years, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba concealed the fact that he was a serving soldier when he was appointed chief elections officer of the electoral supervisory commission, the predecessor to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has linked him to the successive rigging of elections in 2008, 2005 and the presidential election in 2002.

Interview With Irene Petras
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