HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday named Nelson Mutsonziwa as the acting prosecutor general, following the involuntary resignation of Kumbirai Hodzi last week.
Mutsonziwa is the deputy prosecutor general.
Mnangagwa, through chief cabinet secretary Misheck Sibanda, said the appointment was with immediate effect.
In 2016, Mutsonziwa was involved in legal processes to charge the then higher education minister Jonathan Moyo with corruption, but the process was thwarted by the intervention of President Robert Mugabe.
Part of the reasons for Hodzi’s forced exit, ZimLive understands, was Mnangagwa’s growing frustrations with his failure to extradite Moyo from his Kenyan exile.
Moyo, who has a huge Twitter following, has used the platform to channel harsh criticism of Mnangagwa’s government after fleeing Zimbabwe in November 2017 when the military ousted Mugabe in a coup.
Hodzi only recently travelled to Rwanda with a brief to ask for President Paul Kagame’s help in convincing Kenyan authorities to hand-over Moyo to face criminal charges over alleged misuse of funds from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund. Kenya has turned down several extradition requests, reasoning that the charges are politically motivated.
Simultaneously, the Criminal Investigations Department has been ordered to compile an inventory of Moyo’s properties, which Mnangagwa wants seized on the basis that the former Tsholotsho North MP is a fugitive from justice.
Mutsonziwa will consider himself as one of the front runners to be appointed as the substantive prosecutor general after Mnangagwa amended the constitution last year by removing the requirement for public interviews by a judicial panel which then made recommendations on who was suitable.
A measure of his suitability, it would appear, would be how successful he is in extraditing Moyo.
Other candidates being considered for the position include the current justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission boss Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo and Chris Mutangadura, the National Prosecuting Authority’s chief public prosecutor in charge of the asset forfeiture unit.
Mnangagwa is expected to name his pick by July, with his deputy and reported rival Constantino Chiwenga expected to table his own recommendations.