By Mashudu Netsianda
The High Court has ordered Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga to reinstate a junior police officer who was fired by his predecessor for refusing to move to his new station without receiving his travelling and subsistence allowances.
Constable Samuel Kufandada was in March 2015 transferred from Ross Camp in Bulawayo to ZRP Makosa in Murehwa district despite having successfully challenged his transfer at the High Court.
The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva follows a court application by Const Kufandada citing the then Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, ex-Senior Assistant Commissioner Justice Chengeta who was then chief staff officer-in-charge of ZRP human resources, Snr Asst Comm Stephen Mutamba who was then the officer commanding police in Bulawayo province, the officer in charge of ZRP Makosa, officer commanding Murehwa district, one Chief Superintendent Chizemo and Assistant Commissioner Wilson Marecha in his capacity as the one who initiated a radio discharging him, as respondents.
“The discharge of the applicant from the police Service by the fifth respondent (the Police Commissioner-General) be and hereby set aside. The declaration that the applicant is a deserter and absent without official leave be and hereby set aside,” ruled the judge.
Justice Takuva also ordered the respondents to disburse travelling and subsistence allowances towards Const Kufandada’s transfer from Ross Camp to ZRP Makosa within 14 days of the order and to pay the legal costs he incurred.
In his founding affidavit, Const Kufandada said he had been locked in a series of legal disputes with his bosses resulting in him being declared a deserter and subsequently fired.
Const Kufandada said although he successfully challenged his transfer to Murehwa after Justice Chinembiri-Bhunu ruled in his favour under case number HC3240/15, he agreed to move, but his bosses refused to give him his travel and subsistence allowances.
“I was eager to assume duties at my new station and I duly completed and submitted to the responsible office a claim form for travelling and subsistence allowances to cater for my transfer as well as my family.
“I noted that ever since I submitted my application form for the allowances, I have waited in vain for the money and despite numerous follow ups, the respondents failed to address my plight in a surprise move that smacks of bad faith and malice,” he said.
Const Kufandada said when his bosses sent a truck to carry his belongings to Murehwa, he refused to comply, arguing that he was not given travel and subsistence allowances and no accommodation arrangements were made.
“I have children attending school in Bulawayo and in order for me to move to Makosa I needed to transfer them and secure alternative accommodation at ZRP Makosa and schools there as well as buy new uniforms. The respondents had not honoured their side of bargain and they have not paid me my allowances,” he said.
Const Kufandada said his dismissal was linked to a story published in this paper in which he was suing his bosses for contempt of court after his bosses defied a court order blocking his transfer.
He said he was discharged without a disciplinary hearing.
“I learnt that the fifth respondent convened a board to declare me a deserter and I was discharged on 29 October 2015 as unsuitable for police duties.
“The board was conducted in my absence albeit the respondents were aware of my whereabouts and the financial reasons behind my failure to resume duty at ZRP Makosa,” said Const Kufandada.
He said the decision by his bosses to fire him was outrageous and unreasonable.
“The respondents maliciously adopted a wrong procedure to unlawfully discharge me from the police service,” said Const Kufandada.
He said that he was victimised by his bosses when they transferred him from Ross Camp Police Station to ZRP Makosa in Murehwa district in Mashonaland East.
He then successfully contested his transfer in February 2015 before the Harare High Court which established that the transfer was unfair and unprocedural. The Chronicle