ZLHR calls for probe into militarisation

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have expressed grave concern at the disturbing revelations and confirmation of the extent of militarisation of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

They refer to the assault of the Deputy Prosecutor-General and Director of the recently established NPA, Florence Ziyambi, by Colonel Solomon Siziba, who is described in her complaint to the police as the NPA Director for Administration.

He is seconded to the NPA from the Zimbabwe National Army. It appears from Ziyambi’s statement that there are at least two other members of the Zimbabwe National Army currently ‘on secondment’ to the NPA – Major Msipa and Major Manyeruke. “One wonders why such senior military personnel have been seconded to the NPA – a civilian authority – when the Constitution clearly states in section 213 (2) (c) that the defence forces may only be deployed in support of other civilian authorities in the event of an emergency or disaster,” notes ZLHR.

“ Without strict institutional separation, military factions may intimidate and exert pressure on the NPA to take up or disregard certain prosecutions that would be favourable or unfavourable to their interests, when the NPA should be guided only by objective principles that would protect citizens and treat all fairly and equally. It is also not clear as to who soldiers on secondment answer to, and to whom they bear allegiance.

“Zimbabwe does not have a shortage of highly qualified legal personnel who could take up such positions in the NPA; neither is there a shortage of law graduates that requires or justifies drafting in soldiers and police as prosecutors. No security personnel should be involved in any state institution meant to be constitutionally independent,” say the lawyers. They called on the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs and the portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs to urgently investigate “this alarming situation”.

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Post published in: Human Rights

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