TWO former Zambia Army officers have applied for leave to commence judicial review against the State over their dismissal on allegations that they had intimate relationships with female recruits.
In this matter, Captain Solomon Shabeenzu and Lieutenant Christopher Mulenga Nsama have cited the Attorney General as the respondent in the matter.
The applicants are seeking an order of certiorari to remove into the High Court, for purposes of quashing the state’s decision to cancel their commission and dismissing them from Zambia Army’s regular force with immediate effect and barring them from entering a military cantonment.
They are also seeking an order of mandamus compelling the state to reinstate them in the Zambia Army’s regular force until the determination of their application for judicial review.
The duo stated that in December 2020 and January 2021 respectively, while serving in different units at the first Battalion Zambia regiment Tug-Argon in Ndola and Western formation in Mongu respectively, they were deployed to train new recruits in Kapiri Mposhi at the Zambia Army’s Recruit Training Centre.
They stated that while at the RTC, the commandant for the military training establishment of Zambia in Kabwe, Brigadier General Muyanga called orders for three recruits who had been charged for offences and referred to him by their officer commanding.
They alleged that during the said orders, the said recruits had made allegations that they (applicants) were responsible for taking the recruits out of the RTC into Kapiri Mposhi town and further stated that during the said interview, General Munganga became aggressive and attempted to physically assault Lieutenant Nsama and ordered that he be removed from the training camp and go to MILTEZ in Kabwe.
Captain Shabeenzu stated that he was at MILTEZ in Kabwe when the incident happened.
“That following week, the applicants were called by the staff officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ndumba who informed them that they should appear before commandant, Brigadier General Muyanga who later questioned about what transpired at the RTC with the recruits and also whether they had any intimate relationships with the said female recruits,” they stated.
The applicants stated that they denied the allegations and the two female recruits equally denied the allegations when called upon.
“Thereafter, Brigadier General Muyanga informed Captain Habeenzu that the army commander had called him earlier inquiring about the subject matter and went on to warn him that if he was not careful, he would be a civilian by the end of the day. The applicants were asked to step out of the office and were served with charge sheets wherein they were charged with conduct of the prejudice of Military Discipline and Disobedience to particular orders. That thereafter they were immediately called for orders where an investigation of the charges against them was done and the same was conducted by the commanding officer lieutenant colonel F.M Mpezele,” read the application.
They further noted that it was a requirement that once one is served with a charge sheet, they are accorded 48 hours within which to prepare a defence but in their case, immediately they were served with the charge sheet, they were asked to go through them and confirm if they understood without giving them time to prepare their defence as per requirement.
The applicants stated that after the orders were conducted, Captain Habeenzu’s girlfriend, one Captain Nelly Miti (also from Zambia army) called him and informed him that the army commander had called her to his office and informed her that he had recommended to the Republican president that Habeenzu should be dismissed from the Zambia Army and have their commissions withdrawn.
The applicants are now seeking an order of prohibition, prohibiting the state from removing them from the payroll and a declaration that the decision by the state is illegal, unlawful and constitutes an abuse of power.
They further stated that if leave to apply for judicial review is granted, a direction be given that the grant of leave should operate as a stay of the decision to which the application relates and further, a direction that hearing of the application for judicial review is expedited.
The applicants are also seeking an order for costs, damages and that all necessary and consequential directions be given.