THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is deliberating on the performance of candidates interviewed this week to fill the vacant post of Prosecutor-General (PG), after which it will forward three names to President Robert Mugabe, as it emerged that acting PG Ray Goba and Wilson Manase were some of the top performers.
The JSC on Monday publicly interviewed six candidates, Goba, Manase, Charles Chinyama, Misheck Hogwe, Tecler Mapota and Florence Ziyambi.
The post fell vacant after Mugabe fired former PG Johannes Tomana in June for incompetence and misconduct.
The candidates were questioned about their past indiscretions and issues to do with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). According to judicial sources, Goba and Manase emerged as top performers in the interviews. However, Goba faces a hurdle by way of a traffic-related conviction in Namibia, while Manase has had public complaints filed against him at the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ). Ziyambi and Chinyama were also grilled.
Apart from the criminal record in Namibia, Goba, who was sworn in as the acting PG in July last year by Mugabe, has previously been declared a prohibited immigrant in that country, where he worked from 1998 to 2010. Despite his vast experience in the criminal justice system, Goba was questioned by commissioners over his 2002 conviction. He was convicted for driving a vehicle on a public road with excessive blood alcohol; failing to obey a road traffic sign and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
Manase was put under the spotlight over complaints filed with the LSZ by a client that he acted inappropriately by not paying what was due in an estate case. The LSZ fined Manase US$300. He was questioned over why he did not mention the matter in a pre-interview questionnaire inquiring whether he had anything that would embarrass the office of the NPA. He defended himself, saying: “I never thought it was something that would embarrass me. I thought it was something not material. I thought the question asked if there was any financial embarrassment to myself or business.”
The LSZ also is handling complaints against Manase raised by members of the Magamba Echimurenga Housing Scheme in 2014 requesting that he be investigated over the way he handled the change of ownership of Amsterdam Farm, on the outskirts of Harare.
Ziyambi, who has 24 years’ experience in criminal justice, was questioned by the JSC over the role she could have played in stirring divisions and disharmony in the NPA.
However, Ziyambi denied the allegations, saying disgruntlements within the NPA arose when seconded staff, who are mainly military people, were recruited, hence stripping powers of officers who used to hold administrative posts as supervisors. This also resulted in some officers being transferred.
Chinyama had a difficult time trying to convince the commission that he was suitable for office, despite having 14 unprofessional conduct complaints against him filed with the LSZ. Among the allegations against Chinyama are that he failed to represent clients after being paid, failed to pay his associates and had a relationship with a female client in a divorce case.
Born in 1959, Goba did his high school education at St Augustine’s Mission in Manicaland. He attained a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree in 1984 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1986 from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). Goba attained a Masters/pre-doctoral studies in law and public affairs as a Hubert H Humphrey Fellow, a J William Fulbright scholarship programme with the University of Minnesota in the United States from 1994-1995. He worked in the Minnesota State Attorney’s general office, Hennepin County Attorneys (Prosecutors) office as an affiliate.
He did his attachment at the Federal Justice Department, US Supreme Court and Congress (Washington DC). He was appointed public prosecutor, office of the Attorney-General (AG) attached to the Harare magistrates’ court in 1984 before being promoted to prosecute in the regional magistrate’s court (Eastern Division) in 1985.
In 1987, he was called to the AG’s office to deal with criminal prosecutions, appeals/reviews in the High Court and Supreme Court as law officer. He was later promoted to chief law officer. In March 1990, Goba was awarded a British government scholarship to undergo specialised training in criminal prosecutions under the Crown Prosecution Service. He was attached to the Crown Office under Lord Advocate Edinburgh for High Court trials and appeal cases in the High Court of Justiciary. In 1991, Goba was chief law officer and head of the economic crimes division of the directorate of public prosecutions. Between 1993-94 he was appointed acting director of public prosecutions. Goba went on to work in Namibia as deputy prosecutor-general between 1998 and 2000 before being seconded to the office of government attorney. Between 2004 and 2006, he served as acting government attorney before serving as Namibia’s director of legal services and international cooperation between 2008 to 2010. Between 2012 and 2016, Goba practiced as an advocate.
Born in 1958, Manase is a holder of law degree from Nigeria. He practiced law in the High Court of Nigeria. Between 1983-86, Manase worked in Zimbabwe as a prosecutor in criminal matters up to the regional courts. From 1985-86 he was a senior public prosecutor for Masvingo. He was the first national director of the Legal Resources Foundation (1986-90) and assisted the Zimbabwe Republic Police to set up community relations liaison officers’ departments in all stations in Zimbabwe. He founded his private law firm Manase and Manase in 1990. The firm is still operating. Manase has been the chairperson of Liquor Board since 2000. He also chairs Metropolitan Bank and is a director of the National Oil Infrastructure Company and Petrozim. He also chairs and owns Hume Pipe Company, a precast engineering company.
Ziyambi, born in 1969, is the current deputy PG at the NPA. She is also vice-chair of the NPA board. She is a holder of a UZ law degree which she attained in 1992. She joined the Ministry of Justice in 1993 as an assistant law officer before being promoted to principal law officer in 1999. In 2003, Ziyambi was appointed chief law officer, a position she held until 2006 when she became acting director of public prosecutions.
She was promoted to director of legal drafting in 2008 and shortly afterwards was appointed director of public prosecutions, a post she held for five years.
In 2011, she was selected as deputy attorney-general, a position she held until 2013, when she was then appointed deputy prosecutor-general of the NPA. Since 2015, Ziyambi has been the deputy chairperson of the African Union advisory board on corruption.
Chinyama was born in 1966. He is a criminal lawyer with more than 20 years of litigious experience. During the interview he said he was involved in high-profile cases of national interest involving State vs Henrietta Rushwaya, State vs Temba Mliswa and State vs David Butau, to name a few.
Chinyama learnt at Dadaya Mission in Zvishavane and Masase Secondary School. He graduated with a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) law degree in 1996. He has a law firm, Chinyama and Partners, established in 2001.
Hogwe, who has run a law firm Hogwe, Dzimirai and Partners since 1993, is the sitting president of the LSZ. He is also sitting councillor of the Council for Legal Education. Hogwe worked as a law officer in the then office of the AG from January 1993 to August 1993 before he went into private practice. Hogwe was born on in 1968 and is a holder of a UZ law degree which he attainted in 1992. He has a Master’s in Business Administration degree from the UZ (2011).
Born in 1971, Mapota holds a law degree from the UZ and is a partner at Gwaunza and Mapota Legal Practitioners, founded in 2006. She holds a Master of Laws degree with the National University of Singapore. Mapota worked as a public prosecutor in the AG’s office between 1992-97.
Between 2001 and 2003 she worked as principal legal advisor to the AG’s office. She joined Genesis Bank as legal manager or assistant company secretary between 2005 and 2006.
Mapota has lectured in the UZ Faculty of Law, teaching clinical and practical skills to final-year students between 2012 and 2015. She was also deputy director of the Legal Aid Clinic run by the faculty.