Friday, 25 September 2015

Government staffer fired over GALZ party, challenges decision

A FORMER civil servant based in Bulawayo is challenging his dismissal from government for allegedly attending a gay party at a city hotel.

Former Mzilikazi District youth officer, Raymond Sibanda, was among the scores arrested after police raided a Gays and Lesbians’ Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) end of year party in December 2013 at Windermere Hotel.

He was released after paying a $10 admission of guilt fine at Sauerstown Police Station.

His employers, the youth and indigenisation ministry, subsequently charged him with misconduct and terminated his contract in July 2014.
Government staffer fired over GALZ party, challenges decision
However Sibanda has approached the Bulawayo Labour Court challenging his dismissal arguing, among other things, that being present at the hotel at the same time GALZ event does not mean he was part of it.

The court case cites Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Patrick Zhuwao and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as respondents.

“The respondents allege that I was associated with gays, but the supreme law of the country, which is the Constitution under section 58, states that every person has freedom of assembly and association,” Sibanda argues.

“Are the respondents therefore claiming that I was not supposed to be at Windermere Hotel just because there was a GALZ party being hosted there?”

In response the ministry and the CSC said Sibanda paid an admission of guilt fine.

“It’s not in dispute that the appellant paid an admission of guilt fine to charges of public indecency linked to gay activities,” they stated.

“Admission of guilt entails that one is admitting to the charges preferred against him or her. Public indecency and gay activities by a public official who should lead by example in society are not tolerable.

“There is no doubt that Sibanda’s conduct, which may be judged by society, is tantamount to tarnishing the image of government and bringing the name of the Ministry into disrepute.”

The ministry and the CSC also cited the section 78 of the Constitution Amendment (No.20) saying it prohibits same sex marriages.

“It is submitted that the gay activities are prohibited in terms of the law.

“The argument that the law only prohibits same sex marriage is misplaced as our interpretation of the law also implies that everything associated with same sex activities or marriages is prohibited,” said the respondents.
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