Madhuku fights for Dean of Law post

HARARE - University of Zimbabwe (UZ) law professor Lovemore Madhuku has approached the High Court challenging the UZ’s failure to appoint him as dean in the Faculty of Law.

In the application for review, Madhuku, who is the applicant, cited the UZ and in their official capacities, vice chancellor Levi Nyagura, Buzwani Donald Mothobi,  Pedzisai Mashiri, Nester Mukwehwa, Noah Mutongoreni, Julie Stewart, Rodgers Matsikidze and Innocent Maja as respondents.

“This is an application for review in terms of Order 33 of the High Court Rules, 1971. What I seek to be reviewed is the first respondent (UZ)’s decision not to appoint me, while at the same time appointing the 9th respondent (Maja), to the position of dean of Faculty of Law of the first respondent,” Madhuku said in an affidavit.

The 51-year-old lawyer told the court that he has been teaching at the UZ since 1994, before being contracted on a full-time basis in 1997.

He said after successfully completing his probation in 1997, he was later appointed chairperson of the Department of Public Law in the Faculty of Law in 2001 by the then vice chancellor Graham Hill.

“As a full professor, I am a permanent member of the Senate by virtue of Section 15 (1) (a) of the UZ Act (Chapter 25:16). I have served as a member of the council of the first respondent for two terms of three years each as a member under Section 11 (1) (c) of the UZ (Chapter 25:16),” Madhuku said.

He, however, said the panel that decided on who was to be appointed dean in the Faculty of Law, which comprised Nyagura, Mashiri, Mukwehwa, Mutongoreni, Stewart and Matsikidze, lacked jurisdiction in that it was appointed by the UZ council.

“Accordingly, its decision not to appoint me while at the same time appointing 9th respondent as dean of the Faculty of Law of the first respondent is illegal, null and void and of no force or effect,” Madhuku said, adding that Maja does not meet the requirements set out in law for appointment.

He said the appointment of Maja was unreasonable and that “no reasonable person, applying his or her mind to a comparison of my qualifications with those of the 9th respondent and conscious of the legal requirements for the position of dean of the Faculty of Law, would have taken such a decision.”

Madhuku said the position of Dean of Faculty of Law was advertised in the newspaper in November last year, to which he applied.

He said he did not receive any written acknowledgment of his application.

“In the afternoon of 26th February, 2018, I received a telephone call from the first respondent’s registrar’s office inviting me to an interview at 0900hrs on 28th February, 2018. It was made clear that the invitation to the interview was in respect of my application for the post of Dean of Faculty of Law,” he said.

He later received a letter after the interviews on March 7, 2018, stating that he was unsuccessful.

“Knowing the requirements for the post of Dean of the Faculty of Law and being fully aware of the qualifications of the 9th respondent, it immediately became clear to me that the appointment of the 9th respondent could only have been a result of the first respondent not acting lawfully, reasonably and fairly,” Madhuku said.

He said he asked for the reasons for the decision not to appoint him and the reasons were never availed to him. His plea to seek the intervention of the UZ council also failed to yield results.

Madhuku further said Maja is underqualified, since he only got his PhD early last year.

“A person does not become an ‘eminent senior’ academic merely by obtaining a doctorate degree. Much more is required. This is common cause. Under Section 5.2.3 of Ordinance 51, holding a Dphil/PhD is merely a starting point.

“It is the publications profile that determines whether or not an academic is ‘eminent senior’,” he said, adding that Maja does not have adequate administrative experience or record.

He now seeks the court to nullify Maja’s appointment and for the panel to institute a fresh process.

The respondents are yet to file their responses in the matter, which is still pending before the High Court.


 

Comments (1)

As much as I think that passing Madhuku over and appointing some no name person for a position tailored for Madhuku was political and dumb for the reputation of UZ I think there is no legal basis to challenge it at the High Court. An employer doesn't need to justify why they hired one person over the other. They can argue and say he wasn't the 'best fit' for our organization. Wodii manje?

Moe Syslack - 6 April 2018

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