Labour Court president Justice Loyce Matanda-Moyo has turned down an application to rescind the suspension of six lecturers from Mkoba Teachers’ College in Gweru who were charged with 43 others for taking part in a strike to push for higher salaries and better working conditions in July this year.
The suspended lecturers are also to continue on half salary, ruled Justice Matanda-Moyo. The lecturers, who are members of the College Lecturers’ Association in Zimbabwe (Colaz), had taken their suspension to the Labour Court where they challenged the decision to have them singled out, charged and have salaries slashed by half yet 43 others who participated in the job action were spared, arguing it was unlawful. In court documents, the lecturers, represented by Joseph Maweni, had sought the overturning of the decision to suspend them as well as their placement on half salary.
They also wanted Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education Washington Mbizvo, Secretary for the Public Service Pretty Sunguro and the Director of the Salary Service Bureau cited as first, second and third respondents, to bear the cost of the suit.
However, in her ruling, Justice Matanda-Moyo said there was nothing wrong in singling out the seven Colaz branch leaders — who she described as “ringleaders”-out of the 49 lecturers.
“There is nothing wrong with singling out the ringleaders and preferring misconduct charges against them. The reasoning is that a person cannot absolve himself or herself by pointing out that others are also guilty. The court found nothing wrong in singling out ringleaders for punishment.
“Applicants can also defend themselves at subsequent hearings and have powers of appeal. In view of the above, the applicants failed to establish their case.
“Accordingly, the application for review fails and be and is hereby dismissed,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo in her ruling.
However, Maweni said they would appeal the Supreme Court.
“We are seeking leave to appeal at the Supreme Court,” Maweni said. The case was heard at the Gweru Magistrates’ Court, where 26 other lecturers from Masvingo Teachers, Bondolfi and Morgenster colleges are also contesting their suspensions.