High Court orders halt to exhumations

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Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi yesterday ordered the Fallen Heroes Trust and its chairman, George Rutanhire, to stop forthwith the exhumation of remains of former freedom fighters anywhere in the country.

Justice Mathonsi also ordered the co- Ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone to make sure that the Fallen Heroes Trust and Rutanhire complied with the court order.

“First respondent (Fallen Heroes Trust) and all its members and 2nd respondent (Rutanhire) are hereby individually or severally ordered to forthwith stop conducting or desist from exhuming bodies discovered in a mineshaft in Mt Darwin in Mashonaland Central and anywhere else in Zimbabwe.

“Third and fourth respondents (Mohadi and Makone ) are hereby directed to ensure that the 1st and 2nd respondents comply with the terms of this order,” Justice Mathonsi ruled in a judgment read on his behalf by Justice Lawrence Kamocha.

On Wednesday, Justice Mathonsi presided over the matter in chambers and entered a default judgement against Fallen Heroes Trust and all defendants cited in the application after they failed to turn up for the hearing in Bulawayo.

No opposing papers had been filed by the defendants when the matter was heard.

The Zipra Veterans Association represented by its chairman, Lazarus Ncube, cited Fallen Heroes Trust, Rutanhire, Mohadi and Makone, co Ministers of National Healing , Reconciliation and Integration Sekai Holland and Moses Mzila –Ndlovu, Vice Presidents John Nkomo and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) , as respondents.

Ncube said Zipra had members who died or disappeared during the war of liberation and after independence in various parts of Zimbabwe including Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces.

He claimed several ex-Zipra fighters based at 2.1 Infantry Battalion in Mount Darwin died while others disappeared in the Zipra- Zanla clashes during demobilisation soon after independence in 1980.
He said his organisation had a direct interest and the right to take part in or consulted regarding any exhumation of former freedom fighters.

The association was being represented by Advocated Lucas Nkomo and Sindiso Mazibisa.