Lazarus Muchenje was fired from his position as NetOne CEO last Friday in what seemed like the finality of a drawn out divorce. Well, it wasn’t and the former executive is back in court challenging his dismissal.
My colleague Edwin made a fantastic video to bring everyone up to speed regarding Muchenje’s tumultuous 2 year run as CEO. You can check it out below;
Anyway long story short, last week Lazarus Muchenje was reinstated as CEO after the NetOne board dropped the charges of abuse of office against him. They only did this to then fire him following the guidelines set out in the labour act. All this happened in (give or take) 24 hours.
Muchenje has now gone to the High Court challenging his dismissal on the basis that only Emmerson Mnangagwa – aka The President- is the only person who can fire him. Yuhp, you read that right.
Mandatory provisions of Section 11 of the Public Entities Corporate Governance which governs his dismissal had not been complied with. The applicant (Muchenje) cannot be dismissed on notice as purported in the said letter in terms of his contract.
Makamure and NetOne have not demonstrated that the necessary President’s prior endorsement to dismiss the applicant has been sought and have accordingly acted arbitrarily, illegal and irrationally.
In the event that the respondents are not interdicted from giving effect to illegal dismissal letter which is illegal, arbitrary and lacks the President’s endorsement, the applicant will clearly suffer irreparable harm to his clear right from further illegal processes
Muchenje is arguing that he cannot be fired because the letter announcing his dismissal was written by an individual not employed by NetOne. In addition, both NetOne and Makamure should’ve gotten endorsement to fire him from the President – something he says was not done.
It’s an interesting thing to bring up, and if true it makes having a board in place useless since the board is supposed to hold the CEO accountable. The fact that Muchenje cites the President and not the ICT Ministry is also strange. This plays into rumours that the current ICT Minister Jenfan Muswere and Muchenje don’t see eye to eye.