A Messenger of Court on Tuesday closed Zapu national headquarters in Bulawayo over a $15 000 debt owed to a local businessman.
The offices — at Number 18 corner Jason Moyo Street and Connaught Avenue owned by Edson Chemhere Mabudapasi — were still closed yesterday.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou two weeks ago ordered the eviction of the opposition party from the offices it was renting and auctioning of its property to recover the debt.
Justice Ndou’s judgment came after Mabudapasi approached the court seeking a writ of execution against Zapu following a ruling ordering the party to vacate the premises on June 28.
Zapu secretary for legal affairs Stephen Nkiwane refused to comment on the matter saying he was “not in the mood”.
“I will not say anything,” he said. “It might sound rude, but I am not in the mood. I will refer you to (lawyer) Mr (Ndabezinhle) Mazibuko of Calderwood Bryce Hendrie and Partners.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mazibuko proved fruitless as he was reportedly out of the office.
But Zapu spokesperson Mark Mbaiwa confirmed the development.
“They closed the offices yesterday (Tuesday),” he said. “We have decided to move to the Bulawayo provincial offices for the time being while we negotiate with the owner of the building.
“We have paid part of the money, but it’s just that we don’t know what instructions the lawyers have.
“They (lawyers) say they have been instructed to evict us while we negotiate with the owner of the house.
“I paid part of the money in the lawyers’ account yesterday (Tuesday).”
Mbaiwa said the party was trying to pay the whole amount while it negotiated with the owner of the property.
“There are people who are helping us pay the debt,” he said. “We are also trying to dispose of the cattle that we got from our supporters as donations, but the problem is that we needed to feed them first because they were very thin.”
Mabudapasi issued Zapu with summons on March 26 through his lawyer Mazibuko, but Zapu did not file any opposing papers.
The matter was set down for hearing on June 8 and again Zapu did not turn up, prompting Mabudapasi to apply for a default judgment, which was granted by Justice Ndou on June 28.
However, Zapu defied the order and remained on the premises.
The Dumiso Dabengwa-led Zapu moved into the offices on April 1 last year.
But between July last year and February this year, the party failed to pay a cent towards its rentals, accumulating a US$9 350 debt in the process.
From March this year, after the lease agreement had been cancelled, Zapu has been incurring holding-over damages at a rate of $36,67 daily which could take the total debt past US$15 000, excluding legal fees.