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Female cop sacked for ‘dating’ MDC-T MP

A female constable stationed at the Parliament of Zimbabwe was declared unfit for police duties and fired after she reportedly concealed her “close relationship” with an MDC-T legislator.

Constable Faith Mereki
Constable Faith Mereki

Constable Faith Mereki, who was attached to the Police Protection Unit, was discharged from the force for dishonesty, which emanated from her allegedly denying the existence of a relationship with St Mary’s House of Assembly Member Mr Marvelous Khumalo.

Mereki – who was still on probation – was fired on February 9. Police claim they discovered Mereki had made 30 “spirited” phone-calls to Mr Khumalo, but when quizzed, she denied knowledge of such a relationship.

Mereki, who joined the police force on July 22 2009, denied having an affair with the legislator saying the police were supposed to grant her an opportunity to prove her innocence. Mr Khumalo denied ever having a relationship with the cop, saying he only knew her from his constituency.

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“I am a happily married man who doesn’t believe in extra-marital affairs. I was shocked when I heard about her dismissal and I was asking myself if someone who is over 18-years-old can be fired for falling in love.”

Sources at Parliament absolved Cst Mereki of any wrongdoing saying she had been victimised for something she had not done. They said there is one security officer called Mbuyanehanda who is a close friend of a senior officer at PPU who just hated Cst Mereki, thus she leaked false information to the authorities.

“She was not going out with Khumalo. She was just a Constable who had just been posted here, but Mbuyanehanda hated her for unknown reasons. She is close to a senior officer at PPU and we suspect she could have made a false report just to victimise the little girl,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Her dismissal was done without a disciplinary hearing because she was still on probation. The police probation period runs for two years. Police chief spokesperson Senior Assistant Co-mmissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday confirmed Cst Mereki’s dismissal.

“The dismissal was in line with the Police Act. She proved to be dishonest upon being asked on the matter by her superiors,” Senior Asst Comm Bvudzijena said. “There was no need for any inquiry or disciplinary hearing because she had not completed the probation period of two years.

“Everything done was in accordance with the law. If anything happens within the first two years of employment, there is no need for any inquiry or hearing.”

According to a letter dated March 23, 2011 written by Assistant Comm E Moyo to the Police Service Commission, police discovered that Mereki had made “30 spirited calls” to the legislator and to the force, this was confirmation that the two had a close relationship.

“During the period not known, member (Mereki) engaged in a close relationship with an MDC Member of Parliament Honourable Marvelous Khumalo.

“Member (Mereki) was confronted by her commanders over the relationship and she disputed the relationship. However, her telephone confirmed that member had made spirited thirty (30) calls to the MP during the period extending from December 1 2010 to December 17 2010.

“The flurry of her feverish communication with the opposition member, which she disputes, is indicative of her desire to conceal the relationship which makes it suspicious and risk the organisation cannot afford.

“Because member committed a serious offence, which involves an element of dishonesty in addition to the fact that she has not completed her probation period, member was discharged from the force in terms of section 50 (4) (a) of the Police Act ‘Unfit for police duties.”

“The Commissioner-General of Police approved the discharge on February 9 2011 in terms of section 50 (4) (a) of the Police Act,” said Asst Comm Moyo.

Section 50 (4) (a) reads: “If the Commissioner is of the opinion that a regular force member who has not completed a probationary period or who has not been re-engaged for a continuous service is unfit to retain his rank or remain in the police force, he (Commissioner) may discharge the member.”

Asst Comm Moyo is the Senior Staff Officer (Human Resources Administration) based at the Police General Headquarters. The justification of the decision was made after Mereki appealed to the Police Service Commission against the discharge.

In her appeal, Mereki said she was never charged with any misconduct neither did she appear before a disciplinary hearing.

“I am therefore appealing through your office to have my case handled properly as I feel this was an unfair dismissal,” part of the letter of appeal reads.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, acting for Mereki, have written to the Police Commission-General demanding to know the grounds for the dismissal.

“Our client is unaware of any board of inquiry having been established in terms of the Police Act to look into her fitness for police duties or any evidence led in this regard.

“As such, our client is justifiably aggrieved at being summarily dismissed without regard to the due process of law, which is made worse by the fact that ZRP remains the custodian and sole enforcer of the law.

“In the premise, we are under instructions to demand to know on what basis our client was found unfit for police duties.

“We are also under instructions to have sight of copies of the evidence led before the board of inquiry that was recorded by the senior officer appointed to that board in terms of Section 50 (2) of the Police Act,” the letter read.