This has escalated the battle between Tomana and those who want MPs who abused public funds prosecuted. The fight is seen as an indication that some in government entertain corruption by protecting relatives and friends for personal and political reasons.
Matinenga dismissed Tomana’s legal reasons for halting the prosecutions after the AG had written to the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs ministry and the police ordering them to halt prosecution of all MPs accused of corruption involving the CDF saying they could only start in June after complete audits of all the country’s 210 constituencies.
“There is no legal basis to that,” said Matinenga, who is a lawyer by profession.“I cannot stop prosecuting a shoplifter in Mbare until a shoplifter in Mufakose has been arrested. Cases should be prosecuted as and when evidence available shows that a case is prosecutable. The problem is that some people think that everybody works on the basis of political allegiance. I do not work that way,” said Matinenga.
Matinenga could not rule out the possibility that Tomana may be using powers vested in him by the law for political reasons since calls for elections are growing louder.
“We have had problems with selective prosecution. Some people deny the allegations but when one looks at the history of political prosecution, it becomes clear who is targeted or not, but I would not want to believe that the AG is doing that,” he said.
The MDC-T has registered complaints against Tomana’s alleged political prosecutions since the establishment of the coalition government in 2009. Some senior political leaders and ministers from the MDC formations have been arrested, prosecuted and acquitted on spurious charges.
Among the prominent leaders arrested or investigated are Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Energy minister Elton Mangoma, MPs Rodger Tazviona, Costin Muguti, TongaiMatutu, Douglas Mwonzora and Lynette Karenyi.
In a recent letter to President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai complained that his ministers were targeted for arrest, Zanu PF ministers are not. The premier has been for a long time been pushing for Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s investigation and arrest on allegations of corruption but nothing has been done about it.
An MDC-T national executive member confirmed that there was a lot of discomfort within the party about the CDF investigations to the extent that the matter was not debated at their meetings.
“There was no discussion of the matter at last week’s national executive meeting. The party has even blocked a proposed suggestion to move a motion on the issue in parliament. Some members feel Matinenga was hasty in his investigations,” said an insider.
Matinenga confirmed that he was currently not popular among the politicians.
“I can assure you that we are not making friends out there for doing our duty to protect public funds,” said Matinenga.
Investigations have so far implicated close to 10 MPs, including three cabinet ministers. Four MPs, three from MDC-T and one from Zanu PF, had been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission and arraigned before the courts for CDF abuse.