AG's Dilemna Over Prosecutors' Strike

Informed sources told Radio VOP that the three Deputy Attorney Generals (DAG)’s failed to draft the urgent chamber application to file at the High Court seeking to declare as unlawful the prosecutors strike which commenced on Tuesday.

The AG’s office has three DAG’s namely, Prince Machaya in charge of civil division, Florence Ziyambi in charge of criminal division and Nelson Dias, who oversees legal drafting.

The AG’s office had resorted to legal action to stop the work boycott which started on Tuesday. The prosecutors are protesting salary discrepancies between them and the country’s magistrates. Magistrates who now fall under the Judicial Service Commission earn around $700 while the prosecutors get around $250 and yet they hold the same qualifications as magistrates.

“They (AG’s office) had no choice but to hire Mlotshwa (Gerald) to help draft an urgent chamber application  to declare the strike unlawful after the deputy AG’s who are only in office failed to do that,” said the sources.

The Zimbabwe Law Officers Association, which represents the prosecutors, has vowed to defy threats and intimidation targeted at them by their superiors.

Dereck Charamba, the secretary general of Zimbabwe Law Officers Association (ZLOA) said: “They are using unqualified staff to act as prosecutors. These bogus people have been remanding accused people. We will only go back to work when they raise our salaries are on the same level with prosecutors,” Charamba said.
 
“We recieved the same training with magistrates and we want the salaries to be the same.”
 
Charamba said magistrates’ salaries were reviewed upwards in the past month but prosecutors salaries were not reviewed which resulted in them striking. Magistrates now fall under the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) while prosecutors have remained under the Public Serivce Commission (PSC), a body for all other civil servants.
 
Zimbabwe prosecutors once went on strike together with magistrates in 2007 when the country was still using the local dollar hit by running inflation of over a billion.
 
Charamba said the prosecution department has witnessed many resignations because of the poor salaries in the past months. He said; “Over 20 prosecutors handed their resignations in the past two months, a sign that things are not normal.”