A junior Bulawayo policeman, whose appeal against a 10-day jail term was dismissed by Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri following an internal disciplinary hearing over the death of a dog, has approached the High Court seeking recourse.
According to the court papers filed last week, Sergeant Wellington Sibanda who is stationed at Ross Camp Police Station is the applicant while Com-Gen Chihuri was cited as the respondent.
Sibanda was last year convicted and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment at ZRP Fairbridge detention barracks in connection with the death of a police dog.
The dog named Sting was found lying dead inside a kennel after it was killed by other dogs in a fight. Sibanda is alleged to have ignored the helpless dog while it was being attacked by others after it strayed from its kennel.
Sibanda was then charged for failing to save the dog. In his founding affidavit, Sibanda accuses the trial officer identified only as Superintendent N Ndlovu of ZRP Bulawayo Provincial Headquarters, of bias, arguing that the matter was not handled in a fair and transparent manner.
He then appealed to Chihuri and the police boss dismissed his plea.
“I seek a review of the disciplinary proceedings which were presided over at ZRP Bulawayo Provincial Headquarters by Superintendent N Ndlovu on November 12, 2014.
“I was arraigned before a single board facing a charge of performing duty in an improper manner wherein it was alleged that I had failed to do a proper handover-takeover with Constable Chinhengo,” said Sibanda.
“The trial officer found that all procedures had been followed, but he however, found me guilty of failing to hear a dog fight which allegedly led to the death of Sting,” he said.
Sibanda said there were gross irregularities in the proceedings, arguing that he did not hear the dogs fighting in the kennel since he was not within earshot.
He further argued that there was no evidence to prove that the dog was attacked in his presence.
“When I took over duty from Constable Chinhengo it’s possible that the dog had already been injured. There was no evidence to show how many dogs bit Sting or to show how far a noise from a dog fight can travel. There’s also no evidence to show where exactly the dog was when it was bitten considering that the kennel fence had been damaged,” said Sibanda.
He accused his superiors of ineptitude.
“I consider it unfair for junior officers like me to be severely punished like this for something that my seniors could have prevented by merely repairing the fence. I don’t believe that junior officers should continue to suffer due to ineptitude of seniors,” Sibanda said.
He said Com-Gen Chihuri did not consider the serious irregularities when he dismissed the appeal.
“It’s my humble submission that the decision to uphold conviction and sentence be set aside on grounds of gross irregularities,” said Sibanda.
Com-Gen Chihuri is yet to respond to the application.