Tomana yesterday told the Zimbabwe Independent that he did not take seriously the report by the MDC-T outlining 197 politically-related murders of its members, which have not been investigated and taken to the courts because his office was the wrong one to submit such a document to.
“Why are they disrespecting our systems?” he asked. “I will not be one of those that will be in the forefront to bring the systems down. It shows that they are not serious,” he said, adding that “it was not constructive for me to give any credence to it”.
“It says (regarding) unreported cases, first you go to the police so that they can carry out investigations. They are just mixing real issues with politics.”
MDC-T sent a list in October last year of “unreported” murder cases which were committed between April and December 2008 to Tomana asking him to ensure that the cases were prosecuted.
According to the cover letter from the MDC-T’s department of security, reports were made to the police, but references were allegedly not given to the complainants.
“The police have not gone back to the informants or relatives to inform them of levels of achievements in their efforts to deal with the said matters according to the law. There is nothing to indicate that investigations ever took off,” read the letter.
The deceased, the letter read, were buried without undergoing postmortem to determine causes of their deaths and no death certificates were issued.
Tomana said it was not his duty to investigate the murders, but to wait for the police to bring the dockets after investigations are completed so that he can prosecute.
He said if MDC-T was serious about the matter, it should have followed the proper procedures, first by reporting the murders to the police before bringing the “unreported murder cases” to his office.
“It’s just politics and it’s irresponsible politics; they must come clean. It’s like a love letter. Can I then go to court with that letter and say I want to prosecute? Why does anyone think that you can skip the formal structures that are in the constitution which receive reports and jump to Tomana whose job is to prosecute; who is laying those rules?” Tomana asked.
“The lawful way is that I wait for the docket but if you have a problem with investigations, the system must be given the opportunity to fail, that is why we have a charge office, dispol (district police) and propol (provincial police) and that is why we have the commissioner-general.”
He said although he has the powers to direct the police to probe a matter, he could only intervene if the system has failed to investigate and bring the offender to the courts.
“I deal with the commissioner if the system fails (but) the letter is not telling me that the system has failed, but that they are unreported cases. Instead of giving (it to the organ on) national healing, they are giving it to me,” Tomana said.
However, a top MDC-T official said the police should not wait for a complainant to report a murder case because by nature when such an offence has been committed it is the police’s automatic duty to investigate.
“Tomana has failed. He should have just written to (Augustine) Chihuri (Commissioner-General) asking him to look into the matter,” the official said. “If a person dies of unnatural causes, it automatically becomes a police case. The police have to investigate the murders without looking at the deceased’s political affiliation.”
The official said Tomana, as the Attorney-General, has an obligation to direct the police through Chihuri to investigate a crime.
“What does he mean that he can only intervene when the system has failed — it has been more than two years now, isn’t that a clear sign that the system has failed and he must intervene?” he said. “It is his duty to prosecute on behalf of the state. So is he refusing to do his duties?” he said.
Tomana said political parties should formally acknowledge that they caused the deaths of their members during the bloody 2008 election period, adding that MDC-T should stop trivialising the matter by seeking political mileage out of it.
He said the issue could only be resolved politically through a truth and reconciliation exercise.
“Two political parties collided, certain people died in the process. When people collide politically there is need to formally acknowledge the wrong way that they are settling their disputes and there is need to formalise this and bury it formally and legally,” he said. “That’s when you talk of amnesty—this goes beyond national healing. It is the acknowledgement that they killed each other. They are not telling the real story, but the interest is not to seek peace but to cause collision. They must stand up in parliament and acknowledge.”
He castigated the national healing programme for not being serious about dealing with politically motivated cases of violence.
“Even national healing itself is fake. They are not ready to deal with these issues and are not doing anything,” said Tomana.