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Mabamba loses election fight

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THE Constitutional Court yesterday dismissed with costs an application by Chitungwiza’s former ward 25 councillor Fredrick Mabamba who was seeking an order to block the holding of a by-election in the ward.

SENIOR COURT REPORTER

In dismissing the application, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said the court papers prepared by Mabamba’s lawyer Charles Chikore were “grossly negligently done” as it wrongly cited respondent Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo in his personal capacity.

“The conduct by the applicant’s legal practitioners was grossly negligent on their client’s case and they should bear the costs,” Chief Justice Chidyausiku said.

The Chief Justice made the remarks after Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara admitted that his instructing attorney [Chikore] had made an oversight in citing Chombo in his personal capacity in the court application.

“It’s not an oversight, but it’s gross negligence. You have not applied for condonation and given a reason why that was done, but you want this court to continue like that,” Chief Justice Chidyausiku said.

“Citing a minister in his personal capacity is so elementary that you cannot even expect a first year law student to do that.You can’t take this court for granted. A lawyer cannot simply pack a briefcase and come to this court with such kind of work.

“We are getting shoddy work from legal practitioners. Before the lawyers put pen to paper, they should think twice and this [the costs] will send a clear message to all legal practitioners.”

In July this year, Mabamba was thrown a lifeline in his quest to challenge Chombo after Supreme Court judge of appeal Justice Bharat Patel interdicted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission from holding nominations for Chitungwiza Municipality ward 25 following the former councillor’s urgent chamber application.

Mabamba was fired for illegally parcelling out council land.

In his urgent chamber application, Mabamba argued that Chombo illegally dismissed him from council after a sham commission of inquiry.

Chombo was represented by Tinei Dodo from the Attorney-General’s Civil Division while Advocate Thabani Mpofu represented Chitungwiza Municipality.

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