The suspended University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura has applied to have his case referred to the Constitutional Court arguing against the use of private prosecutors from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Anti-corruption unit.
Nyagura’s lawyer, Lewis Uriri told the court that it was a violation of justice and law for his client’s prosecution to be handled by people who report directly to the president.
“The accused person has right to fair trial, which I think it is impossible with the prosecution being done by my colleague here because he is a private prosecutor who reports to the President’s office and not only to the prosecutor general,” said Advocate Uriri.
“Section 260, 1(a) relates how a prosecutor can not be a subject or directive to anyone or being control by anyone and must be an independent prosecutor. The power to appoint means the power to disappoint which means this prosecutor will serve in the pleasure of the president’s office where they report to,” argued advocate Uriri.
However, the state argued that Uriri’s application was a tactic to delay trial of the accused person.
“This trial was supposed to be done on the 15th of August and all the documents are done, but this application is only a calculated tactic to delay the hearing of this matter and to prevent the court from discovering tools,” noted the private prosecutor, Tapiwa Godzi.
He advised Uriri to take his matter to the Constitutional Court saying arguments he was raising were not for Magistrates court to determine.
Godzi added that the accused person will not likely to suffer prejudice or his rights to be violated if the case proceeds at the Magistrates court further arguing that section 5 (2) of the constitution states that Prosecutor General may appoint any legal practitioner who is entitled to practice in Zimbabwe, like him.
Harare Magistrate Lazin Ncube is expected to make a ruling on Nyagura’s application today.
Nyagura is accused of corruption and abuse of office and single handedly accepted and approved the awarding of a doctor of philosophy to former first lady Grace Mugabe.