Trainee police officer fired for stammering loses High Court challenge
High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu last week dismissed an application by former Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officer Vengai Chikurungeni who was fired for stammering and having communication problems, Nehanda Radio has established.
In the case, HC 2116/22, the ex-constable made an application at the High Court for review of the Commissioner General of Police’s (respondents) decision to discharge him from the Police Service as being unfit for Police Duties as he was found to be a stammer and had communication problems.
But Justice Tagu dismissed his application citing that the applicant failed to comply with the rules. The judge further stated that Chikurungeni did not produce evidence of the date he was fired against the date he applied for the review of the respondent’s decision.
According to the court documents, the facts are that the applicant was attested in the Zimbabwe Republic Police which falls under the Police Service Commission on the 27th day of August 2021 as a trainee.
He was doing his training at Morris Depot. In September 2021 the applicant was called by Inspector Gwaka who told him that he was not fit to be a police officer since he was a stammer.
In October 2021 he was called by the Depot Commandant who asked if he was a stammer, and he confirmed that.
In December 2021 he was called by Dr. Nyakudya who said that he wanted to examine if his condition would allow him to remain in the police service. He was duly examined and told results will be communicated later.
On the 31st of January 2022 he was called by Inspector Gwaka who gave him a letter of termination of employment which was “backdated or dated” 28th December 2021 and was asked to sign it. He complied.
Chikurungeni through his lawyers of Mugiya & Muvhami Law Chambers, then decided to challenge the respondents’ decision to discharge him under the stated circumstances.
But Justice Tagu ruled in favour of the Commissioner General of Police.
“Accordingly, it is trite that an application for review must be filed within eight (8) weeks of the termination of the suit, action or proceedings in which the irregularity or illegality complained of is alleged to have occurred.
“The applicant averred that on the 31st of January 2022 he was called by Inspector Gwaka who gave him a letter of termination of employment which was backdated or dated 28th December 2021, and he signed it. Other than his mere say so, he could not provide proof of his averments,” read part of the judge’s observation.
“On the other hand, the respondents managed to produce documentary evidence capturing the proceedings leading to the discharge of the applicant. In particular the respondents produced evidence by way of a Radio dated 23 December 2021 advising applicant of the decision to discharge him from the Police Service.”
Justice Tagu ruled: “The application is dismissed for failure to comply with the Rules. Applicant to pay costs on the ordinary scale.”