Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
THE High Court has dismissed an urgent chamber application by Esigodini resident magistrate, Mr Tawanda Muchemwa, who sought to block disciplinary proceedings against him by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) paving way for the hearing to start today.
The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo followed an urgent chamber application by Mr Muchemwa, through his lawyers Tanaka Law Chambers, seeking a stay of execution of the imminent hearing pending review.
The magistrate faces a hearing for failing to respond to an unspecified correspondence from the JSC.
In papers before the court, Mr Muchemwa cited the JSC, its secretary Mr Walter Chikwana and the chief magistrate, Mr Munamato Mutevedzi as respondents.
In dismissing the application as not urgent, Justice Moyo said JSC just like any other employer had a right to institute disciplinary proceedings against its employee in accordance with the country’s labour laws.
“This court has no power to interdict an otherwise lawful process. That applicant does not like the proceedings or does not want them is no basis for this court to interfere with the same,” she said.
The judge said Mr Muchemwa’s claims of suffering irreparable harm if the disciplinary proceedings went ahead were baseless and unfounded.
“No irreparable harm has been alleged as there can be no irreparable harm in disciplinary proceedings, it is either charges will be proven or disproved as the applicant says that the charges are no sustainable.
Even if applicant were to be wrongfully convicted at the disciplinary hearing he has alternative remedies to counter an unlawful dismissal if it does follow and it is unlawful.
No basis has been made at all for urgency in this case and I accordingly decline to hear this matter on the basis of urgency,” ruled Justice Moyo.
The disciplinary proceedings begin today until Friday.
Mr Muchemwa is being charged for misconduct after he allegedly failed to respond to his superiors’ correspondence.
In his founding affidavit, Mr Muchemwa said the hearing was a ploy by his employer to harass and elbow him out of the organisation.
He said the intended disciplinary hearing contradicts the requirements of justice.
“The simple and apparent point made is that the intended disciplinary proceedings are contrary to the requirements of justice.
The former provincial magistrate in charge of Matabeleland South, Mr Maphios Moyo, also allegedly did not check the records yet no charges were preferred against him. Other responses to correspondence to the respondents have surprisingly gone missing and I am resultantly being charged,” said Mr Muchemwa.
Mr Muchemwa was recently on suspension, which has since been lifted soon after he was acquitted of assaulting and kidnapping his maid.
The magistrate was said to have last year assaulted his maid, Ms Shaymore Musendekwa (20), at the instigation of his wife.
Harare regional magistrate, Mrs Lucie-Anne Mungwari, sitting at the Tredgold Magistrates’ court in Bulawayo, acquitted him following his application for discharge at the close of the State case.
Mrs Mungwari dismissed the case on the grounds that State witnesses gave inconsistent statements about what transpired.
A bid to transfer him to Rusape was also cancelled after he challenged the decision, arguing that it was being implemented without any disciplinary proceedings being held against him.
He said the transfer did not take into account his personal circumstances given that he had just enrolled at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) to study a Masters of Business Administration degree.—@mashnets