Lawson Machida, a mechanical student at Bulawayo Polytechnic was
expelled on 4 November 2020 by Gilbert Mabasa, the Principal at the
institution and suspended for a period of two years and advised that
he may seek readmission at Bulawayo Polytechnic not earlier than 2023
on allegations that he had behaved in a manner that is unbefitting of
a student enrolled at the college.
The unwarranted suspension and expulsion compelled Machida to engage
Jabulani Mhlanga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who protested
against the institution’s decision.
In a letter addressed to Mabasa, Mhlanga argued that Machida had only
been summoned to testify as a witness on 12 October 2020 in a case in
which a student at Bulawayo Polytechnic had been dragged before a
disciplinary hearing for allegedly assaulting the institution’s
Mhlanga charged that even though he was a witness and not subjected to
disciplinary proceedings, the disciplinary committee digressed from
its mandate and made an adverse finding against Machida based on his
testimony as a witness during the disciplinary hearing and held that
he behaved in a manner unbefitting a student.
In addition, Mhlanga protested that the student was not subjected to
any disciplinary hearing in terms of the law and was never given any
notice or advised that he was under any investigation or disciplinary
process for committing acts of misconduct.
The human rights lawyer stated that the expulsion of Machida by Mabasa
without following due processes was a clear violation of his
constitutional rights in particular the right to education guaranteed
in section 75 of the Constitution and the right to administrative
justice provided in section 68 of the Constitution.
In response to Mhlanga’s letter, Mabasa conceded that his institution
had erred in expelling and suspending Machida and advised that the
institution had annulled its decision on the motor mechanics student
and reinstated him to continue pursuing his studies at Bulawayo