The happenings at ZAWA Mfuwe leaves a lot to be desired. Recently, some officers who were on an undercover assignment hired a taxi in order to conduct a covert operation involving Ivory. The taxi was hired with the approval of the ZAWA Mfuwe management and monies were paid by the regional accounts office for the same. During the operation, several people were apprehended and some pieces of Ivory recovered (the case is still before court). However, during the same operation, the villagers turned riotous after recognizing one of the people in the vehicle as a ZAWA officer. The taxi was damaged in the process and some of the officers were injured.
ZAWA Mfuwe paid for all the repairs to the taxi but not the medical expenses for the officers and the vehicle has since been returned to the owner fully repaired.
Surprisingly, the Regional manager -Mr Mushimbalume and the Warden -Mr Simwaba decided to deduct the amount spent on the repair of the vehicle from the salaries of the undercover officers involved without following procedure. Mr. Editor, the officers just received letters informing them of the unlawful deductions (which have since been effected in march) without giving them a platform to exculpate themselves.
According the ZAWA disciplinary code of conduct a hearing has to be set up if a wrong is suspected no matter how obvious the case is. Further, the ZAWA act #12 section 16 provides immunity for liability for such damages during a sanctioned operation- all the more reason for the Regional manager to have instituted a tribunal. Has it now become a precedent for ZAWA to punish or fire employees without a hearing, since the unlawful dismissal of our top management?. Mr. Warden Mfuwe sir, this kind of justice is very retrogressive to the well being of the organisation and the staff morale and may prove to be costly to the ZAWA if the officers decided to go to court.
MR WARDEN, IT IS VERY UNFORTUNATE THAT THE OFFICERS WERE FOUND GUILTY EVEN WHEN THEIR CASE WAS NEVER HEARD. ARE YOU NOW USING JUNGLE LAW? OR IS IT WILD JUSTICE OR MAYBE A CONCOCTION OF BOTH?
Concerned Wildlife Police Officer