28 cops sue Matanga after transferred for failing to stop opposition demos

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By Mary Taruvinga

Twenty eight Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on forced transfer on allegations of failing to stop MDC demonstrations have approached the High Court challenging the move.

Constable Sami Trynos and 27 others have filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court challenging the lawfulness and manner in which they were transferred.

Cited as the first respondent is the Commissioner General of Police Godwin Matanga while the Police Service Commission is cited as the second respondent.

According to court papers, the group was transferred from Harare through a radio signal PN130/20 dated 5 June 2020 to various stations exceeding 400 kilometers from the capital city.

The officers deposed an affidavit through Constable Sami Trynos who said the action by the employer was not based on law but rather on false allegations.

“When the first respondent (Matanga) transferred us, it was not in terms of the law and the transfers were punitive and meant to punish us for no apparent reason.

“I said the above because he told us that the Chief Staff Officer HR who was used to transfer us to ‘fixing’ stations as we were allegedly accused of not being active in thwarting MDC demonstrations, which is not true,” he said.

Trynos said they had no objections to transfers if they were lawful but were contesting the manner in which the transfers were done considering that they were only given five days to move.

“In terms of the standing orders, any transfers must be orderly and provide for financial assistance to the transferred member. In our case, that was not done.

“A transferred member must be given adequate notice to prepare for relocation and surely five days is not sufficient given the prevailing conditions.The standing rules also provide that the organisation should provide transport for the relocation,” said Trynos.

The officers said transferring them under the circumstances was notorious as it violated Covid-19 regulations of not travelling far and their salaries were not sufficient to cover transport costs.

“It is clear that the respondents are encouraging us to break Covid-19 regulations by forcing us to hike with all our families and properties.We earn salaries of less than $2 000 a month and the transport costs of each one of us exceeds $20 000. If we are to relocate, respondents are not providing financial assistance.”

The applicants also said Matanga and the Police Service Commission had threatened to arrest them if they failed to report for duty which clearly marked the need for them to be protected by the law.

The officers said they appealed to Matanga once but to no avail and insisted they were not refusing the transfers but want them to be stayed until conditions are permitting.

They said it was unfortunate that respondents who are expected to be law enforcers and not law breakers are failing to even respect their own regulations.

The case is yet to be heard.