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Thirty-seven Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Mabvuku officers, who were transferred to various police stations and posts dotted around the country on allegations of corruption, approached the High Court on Wednesday and thwarted the force’s move to have them charged and dismissed by a suitability board. The officers have since been suspended from the force.
In an urgent chamber application Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese issued an order suspending the convening of the suitability board.
The police officers, bearing the ranks of Assistant Inspectors, Sergeants and Constables, cited the board president, Chief Superintendent, Patrick Wasara, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Chief Staff Officer Justice Chengeta and Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri as first, second and third respondents, respectively.
One of the victims of the transfer, an Assistant Inspector Mhizha said he was shocked when he received a radio signal last Saturday inviting him to appear at the Harare South district headquarters for the suitability board hearing that had been slated for yesterday.
In his founding affidavit, Mhizha, through his lawyer, Norman Mugiya, said no reasons had been given why the police force had decided to convene a board of suitability against him and the rest of the police officers contrary to the provisions of section 68(2) of the Constitution.
“However, I tend to speculate that what ignited the sudden decision to convene the board of suitability against me and the rest of the applicants is the fact that, we were without notice transferred from Mabvuku Police Station and suspended from work a week ago,” Mhizha said.
“The reason the respondents took such a drastic measure was that, there were three police officers who were arrested for soliciting a bribe and when the offence occurred I was not on duty including the rest of the applicants.
“The respondents then decided to punish all the police officers stationed at ZRP Mabvuku, notwithstanding the fact that they are not in any way connected to the offence. The respondents said that I and the rest of the applicants should pay dearly for the alleged sins of the arrested three details.”
Mhizha further said the purpose of convening the board of suitability in terms of section 50 of the Police Act was to discharge him and the rest of the suspended officers from the police force.
“In casu [in this case], the respondents did not charge me or any of the applicants, let alone convict me or any of the applicants and it boggles one’s mind why the respondents have decided to take the law into their own hands,” the Assistant Inspector said.
“I have no doubt that the respondent’s conduct is not only unlawful and wrongful, but also unconstitutional and the respondents cannot be allowed to be the law unto themselves.”
According to information gathered by NewsDay, some police officers who have been suspended were on maternity, sick and vacation leave when the incident involving the arrest of the three officers occurred. source-newsday