Johannes Tomana

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Johannes Tomana
Johannes Tomana
Johannes Tomana Image Via Herald
Born (1967-09-09) September 9, 1967 (age 48)
Zimbabwe
Residence Zimbabwe
Occupation Prosecutor General
Years active 2008 - present
Employer The Government of Zimbabwe
Organization Ministry of Justice
Notable work(s) Being the Prosecutor General in Zimbabwe
Spouse(s) Josephine Tomana

Johannes Tomana is an attorney and the current Prosecutor General in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in the Republic of Zimbabwe. Tomana was appointed into this position in 2008 during the Government of National Unity era. He was the country's Attorney General for five years before his new appointment as Prosecutor General in 2013.

In February 2016, Tomana was arrested over alleged abuse of office after the withdrawal of charges against two suspects in the bomb attempt at a dairy firm owned by President Robert Mugabe. Tomana’s arrest came at a time tensions were heightening in government and the ruling Zanu PF party between rival factions Team Lacoste and G40.[1]

Background

Tomana was born on the 9th of September in 1967.[2]

Professional Background

He previously served as deputy Attorney-General under Sobusa Gula-Ndebele from 2006 to May 2008 . Gula-Ndebele was dismissed from his post following infighting within the ZANU-PF. He worked together with Bharat Patel, who served as acting Attorney-General from May to December 2008. Tomana also worked for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission since 2005.[3]

Controversies Over Appointment

There was controversy and debate in the country's political and judiciary facets over the appointment of Tomana into the post of the attorney General. He was appointed in 2008 after the signing of the historic Global Political Agreement between the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) led by Robert Mugabe, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC formation which was led by Arthur Mutamabara.[4] It was a time of serious political tension in government and the appointment of Tomana by Mugabe without prior consultation with the other principals (Tsvangirai and Mutambara) created debate in the media. His appointment resulted in some claiming that the office is highly politicised and Tomana was part of the ZANU PF apparatus specifically tailor made to protect ZANU PF interests in government especially in the judiciary wing.[4]

In 2013 after the harmonised elections which saw Robert Mugabe winning the controversial election, Tomana was empowered by the new constitution to fill in the newly created office of the Prosecutor General.[5] As part of the constitutional provisions, Tomana was supposed to go through the process of public interview where he would be examined by a selected panel of juries. He however did not go through this process and activists such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights went on a crusade of criticising both the ZANU PF government for tempering with the law to aid its agenda.[5]

Criticisms

In his capacities as Attorney General and later on Prosecutor General, Tomana was accused of compromising the justice delivery system of the country due to his alleged ZANU PF links.[4] In 2011 during the Government of National Unity era, Tomana was accused of incompetence after he failed to deal with any of the high profile cases of corruption and abuse of office which were brought to the courts. It was alleged that most of the cases involved ZANU PF politicians, or at least individuals linked to the party. His failure to deal with such matter attracted showers of criticism from different facets of the society.[4]

Age of Consent Controversy

In June 2015, Tomana made controversial remarks when he said that 12 year olds can consent to sexual activity. This was on the sidelines of the debate on Zimbabwe's age of consent which was still being deliberated at the Constitutional Court. There was massive criticism especially from the Non governmental organisations which thought the move would increase the risk of the young ones contacting HIV and AIDS and early pregnancies.[6]

Links with ZANU PF

In 2010, the United States government added Tomana to the long list of ZANU PF politicians who were under sanctions which included travel bans. Tomana was thus identified as part of the country's top leadership which was accused by the European Union and US for undermining the country's democracy.[7]

Arrest in 2016

On 1 February 2016, as the factionalism fights in Zanu-PF heated up, Tomana was arrested and charged for abuse office or alternatively defeating or obstructing the course of justice in the case where as Prosecutor General he struck a deal with 2 of the 4 men accused of attempting to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe, a dairy farm belonging President Robert Mugabe's family. Tomana was believed to be aligned to the faction reportedly led by the Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa[1]. He was granted $1,000 the next day.[8].

On 16 February, Tomana made a court application challenging his placement on remand arguing that as Prosecutor General it was unconstitutional. “Every minute that I remain on remand the Constitution suffers an unwarranted violation. That must be brought to an end. Those behind the process must STOP IT!!!!,” read the affidavit. [9] Harare provincial magistrate, Vakayi Chikwekwe, however ruled that Tomana remain on remand as there was reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offence.[10]

Not fit and proper person to be PG

On 12 February 2016, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) sought to remove Tomana from office, when it wrote to him about his unsuitability to continue holding the office of Prosecutor-General. He was given 10 days to respond to the letter dated February 12 2016 signed by the JSC chairman Chief Justice Chidyausiku. The JSC said Tomana was not a “fit and proper person” to continue in the office of Prosecutor-General because of defying 2 court orders from the superior courts. Tomana defied 2 court orders to issue certificates for the private prosecution of Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke and Telecel Zimbabwe shareholder Jane Mutasa. He was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment wholly set-aside on condition that he complied with the court orders and issue private prosecution certificates to Mr Francis Maramwidze and Telecel, within 10 days, failure which he would be barred from practising as a lawyer in Zimbabwe.

Tomana immediately filed an urgent chamber application seeking an interim order staying the process for his possible removal from office.

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Tomana arrested over Mugabe bomb attempt, NewZimbabwe, Published: 1 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 28 Feb 2016
  2. , US Freezes Assets Of Zimbabwe Attorney General Tomana,Zimeye, published:21 Dec 2010,retrieved:19 Jun 2015"
  3. , Johannes Tomana, retrieved:26 Dec 2014"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 , Who’s been Zimbabwe’s best and worst minister?,Newsday, published:31 Dec 2011,retrieved:26 Dec 2014"
  5. 5.0 5.1 M Mugabe, AG Tomana Escapes Scrutiny, Becomes PG,Joomla, published:13 Nov 2013,retrieved:26 Dec 2014"
  6. , The Interview: Johannes Tomana,Chronicle, published:19 Jun 2015,retrieved:19 Jun 2015"
  7. , US imposes sanctions on Tomana,News 24, published:22 Dec 2010,retrieved:26 Dec 2014"
  8. [ ], The Herald , Published:2 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 28 Feb 2016
  9. LATEST: Tomana challenges remand placement, The Herald, Published: 16 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 28 Feb 2016
  10. Tendai Rupapa ‘Tomana has case to answer’ , The Herald, Published:23 Feb 2016, Retrieved: 28 Feb 2016