Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
MINISTER of state for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Mandiitawepi Chimene’s bid to rescind an order that named former Zanu-PF parliamentarian Christopher Mutsvanga as the licit leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, went bad in the High Court yesterday.
Chimene had applied for postponement of the case to May 30, to enable her engage Advocate Garikai Sithole to argue the matter, but Justice Moses Foroma dismissed the application.
A Harare lawyer, Mr Joshua Chirambwi, who had been asked to seek the postponement, advised the judge that he was unable to argue the case without instructions from the minister’s Gweru-based lawyers Garikai and Company.
Mr Chirambwi told The Herald that he went to court solely to postpone the matter. “I had to postpone the matter to facilitate the presence of Adv Sithole, but the judge could not allow that and stood the matter down to 11:30am,” said Mr Chirambwi. “I had not received instructions to argue the matter. I indicated that I could not argue the case in the absence of instructions. In any event, even if I had instructions I needed to study the case.”
Mr Chirambwi said from an ethical point of view, he could not do so and in the end the judge threw out the application with costs of suit.
Mr Edmore Musekiwa, who appeared for the ZNLWVA, confirmed the latest development. He said there was no appearance by Chimene and the lawyer only had instructions to postpone the matter. “The postponement was dismissed. In short Mandi could not argue the case because she was not prepared.”
Going forward, Mr Musekiwa said he would soon approach the same court for confirmation of the provisional order by Justice Zhou that named Mutsvanga as the legitimate leader of the ZNLWVA last year. Mr Musekiwa said Chimene has to date not filed opposing papers to the provisional order making her barred from challenging the decision.
Early last year, the High Court barred Chimene from posing as the interim or substantive leader of the war veterans association. Justice Zhou also barred her from issuing press statements on behalf of the association and its leadership.
She then applied for rescission of judgement arguing that the provisional order granted against her was erroneously sought by the association leadership and was granted in error in her absence.
Chimene further averred that she was not served with court papers, including the notice of set down which resulted in the default judgement barring her from interfering with the ZNLWVA’s affairs.
The leadership wrangle between Chimene and the Mutsvanga-led war veterans flared up after the provincial minister and her faction passed a vote of no confidence in the latter.
Chimene claimed to have taken over as the interim of ZNLWVA, giving rise to the judicial proceedings culminating in the provisional order being issued against her.