DEAN OF LAW : MADHUKU GOES TO COURT
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) law lecturer Professor Lovemore Madhuku yesterday approached the High Court to set aside the recent appointment of Dr Innocent Maja as the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the country’s premier institution of higher learning.
He wants the court to direct that he be appointed as head of the faculty instead or, alternatively, that the interviews for the post be redone. In his application, Prof Madhuku has cited the UZ, UZ Council chairperson Ambassador Buzwani Mothobi and his councillors and Dr Maja as respondents.
The respondents have 10 days to respond to the suit.
Prof Madhuku reportedly failed to impress the interviewing panel led by UZ Vice Chancellor Prof Levi Nyagura. In his application, Prof Madhuku argued that the interviewing panel lacked jurisdiction as contemplated by the UZ Act, rendering the process null and void.
“Accordingly, its decision not to appoint the applicant while at the same time appointing the ninth respondent as Dean of the Faculty of Law of the UZ is illegal, null and void and of no force or effect,” said Prof Madhuku.
He averred that he was the most qualified person as Dr Maja, in his view, was junior to him, having helped him to acquire his Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD). He argued that Dr Maja was still on probation, hence, could not qualify to be dean.
Prof Madhuku argued that Dr Maja could not be described as an “eminent senior academic” and does not have a “proven administrative record”, among other requirements that were sought. He said Dr Maja had not sufficiently published in internationally recognised journals.
“I believe that having regard to Ordinance 51 and its predecessor, Ordinance 28, an ‘eminent senior’ academic has a specialised technical meaning,” said Prof Madhuku.
“It means, at the very least, an associate professor or full professor. On a reasonable consideration, therefore, Dr Maja cannot satisfy the mandatory requirement of being an “eminent senior academic” within the contemplation of Section 3.2 of Ordinance 44. That disqualifies him, for the time being from appointment to the post of Dean of the Faculty of Law. He ought not to have been interviewed for the post. On that point alone, his appointment can be reviewed and set aside.”
Prof Madhuku argued that he fully satisfied the description of an “eminent senior” academic, hence, should be appointed as dean.