ZRP ACTED UNLAWFULLY : HIGH COURT JUDGE
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) acted unlawfully when it refused to reinstate a member contesting his discharge from service, despite him having filed an appeal with the Police Service Commission, the High Court ruled.
High Court judge Justice Esther Muremba ruled that once an appeal has been filed, the decision of the Police Commissioner-General to fire an officer is automatically set aside by operation of law.
Pending determination of the appeal by the commission, discharged police officers must be reinstated to their positions.
Justice Muremba made the finding in a matter in which ex-Constable A Rwafa (Force number 052885H) was challenging his dismissal from employment after being declared a deserter.
Former Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri dismissed Cst Rwafa on December 30, 2014 for desertion.
Cst Rwafa was informed of the dismissal on January 20, 2015 and he appealed to the commission three days later. Section 51 of the Police Act compels the police to reinstate the appellant as soon as he or she files the appeal in time.
However, the police did not reinstate Cst Rwafa. Through his lawyer Mr Norman Mugiya, Cst Rwafa unsuccessfully sought reinstatement. The lawyers then filed an application at the High Court seeking reinstatement.
Justice Muremba ruled that the police had violated the law. “Obviously this failure to comply with the law was unlawful.
“I am in agreement with Mr Mugiya’s interpretation of Section 51 of the Police Act that the effect of appealing against a discharge from the police service by the second respondent is that the filing of an appeal automatically suspends the decision of the second respondent since the provision says an order of the Commissioner-General shall not be executed until the decision of the commission has been given.
“This therefore means that the appellant is entitled to continue working as a member of the police force,” the judge said.
Justice Muremba said the cop was entitled to reinstatement on full salary and benefits.
However, in Cst Rwafa’s case, Justice Muremba said, reinstatement was no longer possible because his appeal was later dismissed by the PSC.