SAD NEWS: Johannes Tomana dies after visiting his rural home


Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Johannes Tomana, died yesterday morning after a short illness.

Ambassador Tomana died after visiting his rural home in Honde Valley, Manicaland Province. He was 56.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson, Mr Livit Mugejo, confirmed the death.

“We have just received sad news about the death of Ambassador Tomana in Honde Valley. We are still gathering more details,” said Mr Mugejo. While the cause of death could not be immediately established, a close relative who declined to be named said it could have been a result of food poisoning.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could also not be drawn to comment on the cause of death, but said a statement would be issued soon.

Amb Tomana’s daughter, Mutsa, said the remains of her father were set to be brought to Harare late yesterday.

She described her father as loving.

“My father was very generous and prayerful. He loved his family,” she said.

She said her father had gone to their rural home last week and died after a short illness early yesterday.

Former Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi yesterday said he learnt of Ambassador Tomana’s death with shock.

“It is with utter shock that I received the news of the death of my beloved comrade, brother and my former boss, the former Prosecutor-General, and the ambassador to the DRC, the Honourable Johannes Tomana,” said Mr Hodzi.

“I have known and worked very closely with Hon Tomana from the time he was a young university student, lawyer in private practice and a top most lawyer advisor in Government as Attorney-General and then as the top most Chief Prosecutor as PG, and of course, in his last position as an Ambassador.

“You will all recall that Amb Tomana held the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic of Zimbabwe and from there he became the first ever Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Zimbabwe. We, who closely worked with him, will remember Amb Tomana as an inspirational and visionary leader.”

Mr Hodzi said Amb Tomana was a legal strategist par excellence, with a strong commitment to justice and fairness.

“Amb Tomana was a first class highly qualified legal mind. He held an Upper Second LLB degree and a First Class degree in International Law. He was a highly patriotic Zimbabwean and a strong Pan-African. Amb Tomana taught all of us to always put our country and continent Africa first.

“We all remember his heroic and patriotic legal fight when he led Zimbabwe’s legal fight against the imposition of the illegal sanctions regime imposed by the so-called Western powers — the US, the UK, the EU and their allies Australia, Japan and Canada,” he said.

Mr Hodzi said everyone remembers the legal and strategic victory scored by Amb Tomana for Zimbabwe in the Kimberley Process.

“When the same forces sought to undermine and destroy the country’s economy through an attempt to stop Zimbabwe from marketing its diamonds”.

Amb Tomana, he added, was a strong advocate for the beneficiation of African minerals and other valuable resources.

“As AG, he was instrumental in helping the Government come up with the strongest possible legislation in this regard. We are proud that so many of the present African governments are now copying this beneficiation model, which was in essence created and advocated by Amb Tomana.

“We who followed in his footsteps in the PG’s Office found that he had developed a far-reaching vision to make the office the one of foremost effective and efficient prosecutorial authorities in the world. This in itself was a heroic effort, a testimony to his commitment to the rule of law and his progressive vision for the country,” said Mr Hodzi.

“As a diplomat, Amb Tomana was impressive. We remained in touch and we are again impressed by his Herculean and heroic efforts to improve the volume of trade between the DRC and Zimbabwe to unprecedented levels.

“We say that Amb Tomana was a true leader, an authentic hero and a great Zimbabwean. We say to our brother, our comrade and hero, go well. You have run your race,” said Mr Hodzi.

Born on September 9, 1967, Amb Tomana was a lawyer by training and distinguished himself in private practice.

In 2005, he was appointed to be one of the commissioners of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, one of the independent constitutional bodies established to fight graft.

He was later appointed Attorney General in 2008, where he performed the dual role of leading the prosecution department and Government advisory role.

The two were later split under the new Constitution that came into effect in 2013, where Amb Tomana became the country’s first Prosecutor General.

In 2010, Amb Tomana’s role in Government saw him included on the United States’ illegal sanctions list, which targeted senior Government and Zanu PF officials.

In 2011, as the Attorney-General he launched a court challenge with the European Union Court of Justice against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Amb Tomana was appointed into diplomatic service in September 2020, when he assumed the post of Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the DRC, a position he held until his untimely death.

— Herald

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