Police chief Matanga told to reinstate officer or face jail

HARARE – The High Court has given police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga seven days to re-instate a sacked police officer or go to prison for 90 days for contempt of court.

Constable Sikhathazile Moyo was fired from the service following a recommendation by the ZRP board president.

She was, however, reinstated by the High Court in 2020 when Justice Clement Phiri directed her reinstatement without loss of salary and benefits.

Efforts to get her reinstated were blocked, allegedly after Matanga ignored the court order.

This prompted Moyo to return to the High Court, this time applying for Matanga to be held in contempt.

Justice David Mangota of the Harare High Court upheld her request, warning Matamga he faces prison for ignoring a court order.

“The application for contempt of court be and is hereby granted. The respondents are hereby ordered to purge their contempt by complying with paragraph four of the court order… within seven days from the date of this order,” the order granted by Justice Mangota says.

“In the event that the respondents have failed to comply with paragraph 2 above, they are hereby held in contempt of court and are hereby committed to civil imprisonment for a period of 90 days. The respondents are ordered to pay costs of suit on a punitive scale.”

ZRP staff officer human resources administration Josiah Chideme had opposed Moyo’s application. He accused Moyo of concealing information he claimed would have led to a different outcome.

Chideme said in an affidavit: “I humbly submit that this application is bad at law. The applicant has not placed sufficient and correct information before this court for it to exercise its discretion judiciously. The applicant intends to mislead the honourable court into portraying an image that the respondents are in contempt of the court order. I therefore wish to categorically put the record straight as to what actually transpired after the court order was issued.

“After being served with the court order, the applicant was invited to come for her reinstatement. The communication was made to her station, Mukumbura, to contact her about the process of reinstatement. It was at that time that we received communication to the effect that the applicant was now a full time politician. In actual fact, she had contested under MDC Alliance ticket during the 2018 elections whereupon she lost to Noveti Muponora of Zanu PF. With this information and cognisance of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that states that no member of the civil service must be an office bearer of a political party, it was found undesirable and unlawful that she be reinstated. In any event, she had not disclosed this fact when she was granted the order by judge.

“I therefore conclude that the information placed by the applicant is a mere attempt to mislead the court instead of assisting the court to reach a judicious decision. It is a mere abuse of the court process.”

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