ZNA boss retires empty handed following misconduct allegations

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By Mary Taruvinga

A FORMER Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) top official, Colonel Shakeman Terrence Chizengwe, walked out of service empty handed after decades of serving as punishment for refusing to go through a disciplinary hearing.

Chizengwe, who was ZNA director Ordinance, opted to retire without benefits to avoid disciplinary proceedings against him through the General Court Martial.

According to his bosses, allegations against him were too gross to an extent that his case was handled in confidence.

To date facts regarding his dismissal remain unknown to the public.

However, the colonel is now at loggerheads with his bosses after he allegedly tried to manipulate the dismissal protocols to his benefit.

At law, he had two options, to go through prosecution or to retire without benefits.

If one is found guilty they are both liable to lose both rank and pension.

His bosses say Chizengwe chose to retire without benefits but after having retired and avoided trial, he turned around and filed a High Court application insisting that he had rights to be promoted and receive benefits.

Following Chizengwe’s upturn, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander Philip Valerio Sibanda has approached the High Court challenging his request.

His response was however filed late but the court has granted him relief to respond to Chizengwe.

Sibanda argued that Chizengwe is only trying to avoid consequences of his own wrong doing.

“Sight must not be lost of the fact that this matter is borne out of Chizengwe’s acts of misconduct. More curiously, he does not deny that he was facing credible allegations of misconduct. He does not deny that the recommendation that he be subjected to a general Court Martial trial was justified. He has no problem with the fact that the proceedings were held in confidence which thus protects his integrity through non-disclosure of the facts and allegations forming charges of misconduct he was facing,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda said in fact, Chizengwe himself is not prepared to disclose to the court the allegations he was facing.

“All he is prepared to do is have the decision of March 1 2021 impugned and its consequences set aside for his pecuniary benefit,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda said Chizengwe pursued his desired remedy without establishing good cause for the High Court’s interference with the primary administrative authority.

Chizengwe had told the High court that he was subjected to duress during the meeting leading to his dismissal.

But according to Sibanda, his subordinate was offered an extension of six months in employment if he wished to undergo a general Martial Trial.

“He declined that offer,” said the army boss.

ZNA commander David Sigauke seconded Sibanda.