New twist in Charumbira poll case Chief Charumbira

Yeukai Karengezeka Court Correspondent

The legal dispute between the trustees of Elections Resource Centre (ERC) and National Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira has taken a new twist, with the non-governmental organisation approaching the High Court again, this time seeking an order to have the chief punished for defying a court order.

Chief Charumbira allegedly defied a High Court order to apologise over utterances he allegedly made sometime in October 2017 at the official opening of the National Chiefs’ Council annual conference when he urged other chiefs to rally behind the ruling Zanu PF during the 2018 harmonised elections.

This, according to the ERC, was contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, which oblige traditional leaders to be non-partisan and apolitical.

ERC then approached the High Court last year and Chief Charumbira was ordered to issue an apology, but he did not do so, prompting the ERC to approach the court again.

In the founding affidavit filed last week, ERC executive director Mr Tawanda Chimhini castigated the chief’s behaviour, arguing that it did not only defeat the course of justice, but also showed disrespect to the judicial system and the constitutional order.

The ERC also wants Chief Charumbira to pay for the cost of the  suit.

“Because of the attitude of the respondent (Chief Charumbira), who has disdainfully failed and or refused to comply with the court order and attracting unnecessary court proceedings, he should be (ordered  to pay) costs (of suit) on a legal practitioner and client scale,” it said.

“It is imperative that respondent be punished for disobeying the court order and bringing the court into disrepute. He should be compelled to obey the court order.”

When the order was granted last year, Chief Charumbira applied for rescission of the court order which he did not pursue.

ERC then successfully applied for the rescission of default judgment and it was dismissed for want of prosecution.

The case is yet to be heard.

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