HomeNewsMugabe cap debacle: Disciplinary hearing stopped

Mugabe cap debacle: Disciplinary hearing stopped

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Harare High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu yesterday granted suspended University of Zimbabwe (UZ) deputy registrar (academic), Ngaatendwe Takawira, a lifeline after ordering a stay of her disciplinary hearing over allegations of procuring a small cap for President Robert Mugabe at the institution’s graduation ceremony.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The drama over Mugabe’s cap debacle has taken several twists and turns, with Takawira making many court applications.

UZ Chancellor President Mugabe
UZ Chancellor President Mugabe

She has argued her suspension was marred with irregularities and ought to be reversed.

But UZ vice-chancellor, Levy Nyagura dismissed her claims, insisting she should be fired for causing embarrassment to the Head of State.

After realising Nyagura was determined to proceed with the disciplinary hearing, which he had constituted, Takawira made an application in the Labour Court, seeking a review of the disciplinary hearing and stay of the same, but the Labour Court ruled it had no jurisdiction to grant her stay of disciplinary proceedings.

Through her lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, she took the matter up with the High Court, where she filed a supplementary affidavit, calling for the UZ vice-chancellor’s recusal from heading her disciplinary hearing.

Justice Tagu ruled in the registrar’s favour and granted a stay of the disciplinary hearing, which Nyagura had hoped would deal with and finalise the Mugabe cap issue.

In his opposition to the application, Nyagura had urged the court to dismiss it, saying: “The interests of justice in this matter are best served if the disciplinary proceedings against the applicant (Takawira) are expeditiously completed. The applicant’s application for review lacks merit and it will be dismissed.

“I am of the view that from the above facts, it is clear that the applicant’s present application and her application for review lack merit. There is no likelihood of bias and the applicant’s claims should fail.”

But in her affidavit, Takawira said “wonders will never cease” as Nyagura, despite his lawyers not objecting to his recusal, was adamant he wanted to complete the hearing, a move she described as weird.

“When the hearing commenced, applicant asked the committee to recuse itself. That request was not objected to by respondent’s lawyers, who are the prosecutors. The parties accepted that it was at law competent for an external authority to be appointed. That, notwithstanding, the application for recusal was dismissed. Wonders will never cease,” she said.

“The reports compiled by the various officials of the respondent (UZ) on the issue, however, completely absolve applicant (Takawira). Those reports are before the court.

Notwithstanding that circumstance, the vice-chancellor was not deterred from constituting a disciplinary committee, deliberately making himself a judge and prosecutor at the same time.”

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