Court News

Journalist sues Govt over termination of contract

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
A LUSAKA journalist has sued the Ministry of National Development Planning and two others over termination of his employment as communications officer.

Larry Hore Njungu, who is also a lawyer has cited the ministry, the Attorney General and National project manager for the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape project, Tasila Banda as defendants in the matter.
Mr Njungu stated in his affidavit that on January 5, 2018 he was offered employment as communications officer in Chipata for the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape project under the Ministry of National Development Planning.
He said he accepted the employment offer the same day and started work the following week on January 15, 2018.
He stated that he was subsequently posted from Lusaka to Chipata.
Mr Njungu stated that he worked in Chipata from February 12, 2018 until his employment was terminated on August 4, 2019.
He stated that on July 15, 2019, he received a letter from the ministry signed by Mr John Chola the permanent secretary, informing him that his contract of employment would come to an end on August 4, 2019.
Mr Njungu said the letter was evidently contrary to the 30 days’ notice of termination as outlined in contract between him and the ministry.
He stated that although the contract largely referred to him as a consultant, the relationship that existed between the ministry and himself was that of employer-employee.
Mr Njungu stated that having been aggrieved by the manner in which his contract was terminated, on September 17, 2019, he wrote to Mr Chola, Ms Banda and the Attorney General.
At this point, Mr Chola assured him that the issue was receiving necessary consideration.
He said that on May 18, this year he wrote to Mr Chola asking about progress on the matter and expressing worry over perceived mishandling of his matter.
He reminded Mr Chola that he had not been repatriated despite having been deployed to Chapala and as such was being subjected to mental stress and anguish.
He stated that on September 1 this year, he received a letter from Mr Chola that the termination of his employment was procedurally and legally correct.
Mr Njungu stated that in the interest of justice he was desirous to have the matter proceed to arbitration in accordance to Article 14 of the contract of employment that existed between himself and the Ministry of National Development Planning.

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