Mugabe’s gold farm wrangle urgent, court

HIGH Court judge, Justice Davison Foroma has ordered that the impasse between former President Robert Mugabe’s family business, Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, and three smallscale gold miners over control of Smithfield Farm in Mazowe should be heard on an urgent basis.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The ruling by Justice Foroma followed a provisional order in January, which ordered Mugabe off the farm to pave way for the three miners, Shepherd Nyazvigo, Bright Mawonga and Mohammed Rezwani Khan.

Justice Foroma granted Mugabe reprieve on March 14, 2018 after his lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, filed an urgent application seeking to persuade the court to hear the matter, involving the gold-rich farm, urgently.

“The applicant [Gushungo Holdings] be and is, hereby, granted leave to anticipate the confirmation/discharge proceedings under case number HC293/18. The matter under case number HC293/18 shall be heard on an urgent basis in connection with which the registrar is directed to set it down on the earliest available date and the parties shall ensure that all such affidavits, certificates and heads of argument as are required/needed to be filed are filed at least 10 hours before the time at which the matter would have been set down in terms of Clause 2(i) above,” Justice Foroma said.

Sometime in February, after being temporarily kicked off the farm, Mugabe, through his securit
y officer, Mkhululi Nyoni, vowed to stay put, arguing the matter had been irregularly dealt with by High Court judge, Justice Happius Zhou, who had granted the miners authority to stay on the farm and evicted Gushungo Holdings together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Support Unit.

However, when Gushungo Holdings challenged the provisional order through an urgent application, the matter was ruled not to have met the requirements of urgency, prompting Mugabe’s firm to refile the application a fortnight ago.

Mpofu said the small-scale miners operations and their presence on the farm had created a situation that had made it difficult for Gushungo Holdings to conduct its farming activities.

Mpofu further said Mugabe’s business would suffer irreparable harm if the matter was not dealt with forthwith because the currently operative provisional order was aiding an illegality which needed to be rectified.
According to the court papers, sometime in 2013, Nyazvigo, Mawonga and Khan were chased and dispossessed of their mining claims by Mugabe’s firm through the Police Protection Unit on the basis that they were mining in a protected zone.

However, in November last year, they returned to their mining sites after obtaining a ruling in their favour, which Mugabe is now seeking to have reversed.

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