Mugabe 'wrong cap' UZ staffer reinstated

HARARE - The High Court has ordered the reinstatement of a senior University of Zimbabwe staffer’s salary and benefits  after being suspended for allegedly supplying President Robert Mugabe with an ill-fitting graduation cap.

High Court judge Emmy Tsanga asked the University of Zimbabwe to show cause why a final order should not be given reinstating Ngaatendwe Takawira, who is the institution’s assistant registrar.

She said it was unclear why Takawira had to be “raked over the coals in the first place”. 

Takawira was not responsible for taking the chancellor’s head measurements or manufacturing the caps, the judge ruled.

“Pending determination of this matter, the applicant is granted the following relief, that the respondent be and is hereby ordered to immediately reinstate the applicant’s salary and benefits pending the determination of this matter on the return date,” Tsanga ruled.

The current litigation arose after Mugabe’s head failed to fit in academic caps that had been ordered for him to wear while officiating at a graduation ceremony held at the institution on October 2.

According to court papers, the event was delayed by 45 minutes as officials made frantic efforts to look for the cap that Mugabe had worn the previous year.

“Embarrassed by the turn of events and the resultant delay, the vice chancellor wrote to the applicant on October 7, advising her of her suspension with pay pending investigations,” the court heard.

Takawira was later called for a disciplinary hearing but challenged the panel’s composition, which was made up of her subordinates and the vice chancellor. She argued that there was a likelihood of bias.

She unsuccessfully applied for the panel to recuse itself, prompting her to file a Labour Court application which is still pending.

Takawira, who was represented by lawyers from Mawere and Sibanda Legal Practitioners, who in turn instructed Thabani Mpofu, further filed a High Court application seeking an order for the stay of the disciplinary proceedings pending the finalisation of her review in the Labour Court.

The vice chancellor later wrote a letter to her, advising her that she was now on suspension without pay with effect from November 1, which prompted her to file another High Court application for the reinstatement of her salary and benefits.

According to court papers, the university withdrew Takawira’s salary, arguing that there were various actions pending before the courts, which were likely going to take time to be resolved.

“…the applicant cannot be paid for not working,” the institution argued.

“While the prolonged hearing may indeed give an impression that she (Takawira) will be now on a prolonged paid holiday, it was the respondent (University of Zimbabwe) who made the choice to remove her from work environment in the initial instance.”

Lawyers from Chihambakwe, Mtizwa Legal Practitioners appeared on behalf of the University of Zimbabwe.

Comments (2)

Crazy Nyagura.The problem with these people is that they are associated with Zanu Pf.Mai Takawira did nothing wrong.At least the high court did the right thing.Iye Nyagura ngaachibve, he has been the vc for too long.No wonder why vakungopa vanhu ve Zanu Pf ma PhD enhema nema law degree.

tinashe - 2 December 2015

she is better she gave the Prez the wrong Cap rather than her boss Nyagura who gave a graduate the wrong certificate PHD instead of a ECD certificate

uhuru - 2 December 2015

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