A bid by MDC leader Welshman Ncube to quash two appeals filed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara hit a brick wall yesterday after the Supreme Court dismissed the former’s application.
Report by Everson Mushava, Chief Reporter
Ncube had filed an application seeking to block Mutambara’s appeals, arguing they were not properly before the court.
This was after Mutambara filed two separate notices of appeal at the Supreme Court to effectively suspend two High Court rulings that barred him from masquerading as MDC leader and another one recognising Ncube as the bona fide MDC leader.
Ncube claimed Mutambara did not pledge to cover security for costs of the appeal.
However, the Supreme Court yesterday said it was convinced that Mutambara attempted to engage Ncube to settle the issue of security for costs in a letter submitted by his lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, who is instructed by Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni legal practitioners.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said he agreed with Uriri that the onus was on Ncube to indicate the amount he required as security for costs.
“The applications for the dismissal of the appeals in the case number SC 176/12 and SC 331/12 are hereby dismissed,” read part of Chidyausiku’s ruling.
“The parties are directed to agree on the amount and manner of security and the applicant’s costs of appeal within ten days of this judgment, failing which the registrar of this court shall determine an appropriate amount to be paid into court for security for the costs in terms of Rule 46 (2) within thirty days of the date of this judgment.”
Chidyausiku said the conduct of both Ncube and Mutambara in the matter left a lot to be desired and could not just dismiss the matter basing on a technicality.
“The applicants should have made a demand of a specific amount which it considered appropriate for the security for costs, in response to the offer for the security of costs made in the Notices of Appeal. The parties are equally to blame for not communicating with each other on the issue of the provision for the security for the costs,” read the ruling.
Chidyausiku said he held the discretion to dismiss the matter but could not simply do that on technicalities.
“Generally speaking, justice demands that an appeal should be determined on the merits as opposed to being dismissed on a technicality. However, the need to determine an appeal on the merits is no licence to disregard the rules,” he said.
The Supreme Court will now proceed to hear the arguments of Mutambara’s appeal and determine his fate in Zimbabwe’s politics.
Advocate Girach Firoz represented Ncube under the instruction of Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans law firm.