Zimbabwe's prosecutor-general out on bail after arrest

2016-02-03 12:03

Harare - It was a sight many Zimbabweans thought they would never see: the country's prosecutor-general heading to court under police escort.

Johannes Tomana did have his hand in his pocket though.

Until now, a powerful ally of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Tomana was arrested in connection with an alleged attempt to bomb a dairy in Mazowe, central Zimbabwe, belonging to President Robert Mugabe and his wife, state media reported on Tuesday.

Analysts speculated that Tomana’s arrest on Monday was linked to battles within Zanu-PF over who would succeed the ageing president.

He was charged with abuse of office. His decision late last week to withdraw charges against two of the four people arrested in connection with the bombing plot appeared to have angered those in more powerful positions.

Making this particular "plot" suspicious was the fact that the alleged perpetrators were found carrying the manifestos of a little-known political party.

There was conflict between a group of young, power-hungry Zanu-PF officials known as the G40 (Generation 40) and presidential spokesman George Charamba, who was closer to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a known presidential hopeful.

It was not clear on Tuesday which of the two camps Tomana sided with, though there had been claims he was not popular with the G40.

Tomana had been behind the prosecution of several opposition figures in Zimbabwe.

State prosecutors opposed bail but Tomana was eventually granted bail of 1,000 US, the official Herald online reported. 

All four suspects in the bombing plot were charged with treason on Tuesday, the Herald said. 

"Won't shed a tear for this fraud. He's a victim of the monster he helped create," tweeted Zimbabwean @GoonerMentality.

A spokesperson for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition Movement for Democratic Change @GutuObert said: "MDC-T believes in a system of [government] in which every citizen will be treated equally before the law. There shouldn't be any sacred cows."

The state-owned ZBC broadcaster did not cover Tomana's arrest until late on Tuesday evening.

Official media was under Charamba’s control. G40 officials used social media to publicise their views.

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