Chihuri’s foe fights retirement four years later

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By Mary Taruvinga

A former senior police officer who lost his job after he exposed former Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri for allegedly covering up high-profile criminal cases and rewarding corruption has approached the courts challenging his dismissal four years later.

Gideon Baloyi, former Assistant Commissioner Operations approached the High Court challenging his dismissal arguing that Chihuri had no powers to dismiss him.

He said he only got to know that he was retired recently after he inquired with current Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, cited as the first respondent in court papers, over his case.

Also cited as respondent is Home Affairs Minister, Cain Mathema.

“I got to know about the decision on 22 July 2019 after the office of the Commissioner General wrote to my legal practitioners through a letter dated July 2019. On July 5 the first respondent (Matanga) had written advising that they were investigating my matter as per the complaint I raised through a letter dated June 19 June 2019,” said Baloyi in his court application.

“I must state that from the 30th November 2015 to the 21 May 2019, I have been struggling to get information regarding whether I was dismissed from work or retired and if so by who and how.

“I thus sought to exhaust internal remedies first by clarifying the position of the respondents before coming to this honourable court of which the respondents position was categorically stated to me on July 22 2019 after completing their investigations into the matter.”

Baloyi challenged his dismissal saying he has not been furnished with any formal communication regarding his fate.

He also said there was no cooperation each time he insisted on clarification except empty promises of “looking into the matter” that was never fulfilled.

Recounting his experience, Baloyi said on November 2015 he was summoned by the Officer Commanding Police Masvingo Province, the then senior Assistant Commissioner Mofolo’s office.

He said he was asked if he had received anything from Chihuri.

Baloyi said he was then told that Chihuri had indicated that he was now tired of working with him and therefore he was supposed to vacate office forthwith.

According to Baloyi, barely 10 minutes after he had been excused from his superiors’ office, a team of armed Support Unit officers budged into his office and he was instructed to vacate at gun point.

“I can say I was literally dragged out of office,” he said.

Baloyi said he tried to get an explanation regarding what had happened with no success.

On December 5 the same year, Baloyi was allegedly forced out of the camp house.

He said he tried to approach the then Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, now Vice President, who told him to comply.

“I must say that the experience was traumatising to me and my family and was highly degrading to a person of my standing in the society and police force. I was treated like a common criminal. Without any communication, my salary was stopped in December 2015,” he said.

Baloyi said his official Nissan Navara was forcibly taken from him by armed officers.

The former top cop said he tried several times to seek audience with Chihuri but ended up being barred from entering Police General Head Quarters in Harare.

He said after he received communication on May 22, he then wrote to the new police boss, Matanga seeking to have all the events that unfolded be declared a nullity.

However, Matanga told him that his investigations established that Baloyi was retired.

Baloyi said Matanga acted outside his mandate and jurisdiction to retire him from the police service.

“If he has no authority to appoint commissioned ranks how then can he retire them,” he argued.

The case pending.