Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene was yesterday ordered by the High Court to pay the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) costs of the lawsuit after her application seeking reversal of a judgment barring her from interfering with activities of the association was dismissed by High Court judge Justice Davison Moses Foroma.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Prior to the dismissal of the matter, Chimene’s name was called three times outside the courtroom and the judge ruled she was in wilful default, prompting the dismissal of the matter.
Before the court’s determination, Harare lawyer Joshua Chirambwe had made an application for a postponement, which application was not opposed by the ZNLWVA’s lawyer, Edmore Muhlekiwa, but Justice Foroma dismissed it and ordered the matter to proceed.
In his application, Chirambwe submitted he had simply received instructions to seek postponement of the matter by Chimene’s lawyers, who had instructed an advocate to argue the minister’s matter.
“I received instructions only pertaining to a postponement as a correspondent attorney. The reasons for the postponement is that the applicant’s (Chimene) attorney had a counsel of choice which they were seeking to engage, but the said advocate is seized with another matter and had asked the instructing attorney to seek a postponement if he was to take up the matter,” Chirambwe said.
“In that regard, I implore the court to consider my position. The nature of this matter does not require me to go beyond the postponement and if at all I had wanted to proceed, I also received the heads of argument this morning.
Therefore, I seek the indulgence of the court to be excused.”
Justice Foroma then asked Chirambwe if he appreciated the nature of his application, to which he answered in the positive.
“You say you were instructed to postpone the matter so as to enable your instructing attorney to engage another lawyer, why did you not ask what would happen if the court declined a postponement?” Justice Foroma asked, to which Chirambwe responded: “I had highlighted to them that in the event that the matter would proceed, I would apply to withdraw from the matter.
Asked if he was going to make any submissions, Chirambwe maintained he only had instructions to postpone the matter and when Muhlekiwa was asked to respond, he confirmed he had agreed to a postponement, but given the court’s position, he applied for the dismissal of the same.
“Applicant being in default, it is ordered that the application be and is hereby dismissed with costs,” Justice Foroma ruled.
Through her lawyers Messrs Garikayi and Company, Chimene had filed an application for rescission of judgment granted in favour of the war veterans on February 21 last year, arguing the same was erroneously sought by the association and likewise granted by the High Court in error.