The High Court has pardoned six Zimbabwe National Army members, fired in 2019 for allegedly stealing State property.
The six include Collen Chiba, Charles Mhuri, Bothwell Gorekore, Hillary Mubariki, Democracy Murambadoro and Gibson Madzinga.
Chiba and others had approached the High Court on review after a suitability board had dismissed them even after they were cleared of all wrongdoing by a court martial.
Commander Defence Forces Philip Valerio Sibanda and Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchingura were cited as respondents.
The six had based their arguments on the view that the decision to discharge them was irregular and un-procedural.
They were charged with theft of State property in terms of the Defence Act [Chapter 11:02] and were brought before a court martial for trial.
A judge advocate (Squadron Leader Timothy Kambudzi) had presided over the six’s trial before clearing the crew claiming the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them.
However, according to the application, the six claimed they were dismissed without due process.
“The soldiers said that they were neither afforded the opportunity to give evidence nor cross examine witnesses or interrogate documents relied on by the board.
Their case was that they were not heard before they were discharged.
“However, while this may be so, them having been found not guilty of theft, the ZDF Commander could not insist that he was relying on theft and past conduct for the discharge,” ruled Justice Chinamora.
The judge went on to set aside the decision to dismiss the six from duty.
“In the result, the decision of the ZDF Commander discharging the six from ZNA service communicated on February 7, 2019 be and is hereby set aside.
“The six be and hereby reinstated to their positions without loss of benefits.
“The respondents shall pay costs of suit, jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved,” ruled the Judge.
– H Metro