AIR Namibia (Proprietary) Limited is set to lose its planes and office equipment to a Zimbabwean national after dismissal of its application for stay of execution on a July judgment by the High Court on September 12, 2018.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In dismissing Air Namibia’s application, High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi, castigated the airline’s lawyers, Messrs Musimwa and Associates, for submitting an improper chamber application before the court.
Initially, Justice Chitapi had granted an order in favour of Chenjerai Mawumba, his wife Juliana Magombedze and their three minor children, who had been denied access to travel to Turkey by the Namibian airline’s officials, to impound Air Namibia’s planes and attach office equipment at Joina City in Harare, pending an application for damages by the family.
Justice Chitapi’s order, dated June 26, 2018 was granted after Mawumba’s family approached the court seeking an order to confirm and/or find the jurisdiction for the High Court of Zimbabwe in the family’s litigation against Air Namibia where it was demanding $1 million in damages.
However, through its lawyers, the airline filed an urgent chamber application seeking stay of execution which did not find favour with Justice Chitapi.
“The chamber application is defective in that it does not comply with form 29B as read with rule 24I. It is not expected that a senior legal practitioner of Mr Musimwa’s experience still fails to comply with the rules despite a plethora of case law to this effect and the importance of complying with rules when bringing cases to court,” Justice Chitapi said in his judgment dated September 12, 2018.
“One shudders to think what sort of grounding the junior practitioners who get employed or are attached to the senior practitioners who fail to comply with basic rules get taught. To put it beyond conjecture as to the basis for my criticism, the applicant’s (Air Namibia) notice of application should have set out the grounds of the application ex facie.”
“To compound my criticism of Mr Musimwa, the provisional order sought and the final order is substantially the same except in regard to the prayer for costs. For whatever it is worth and for the benefit of Mr Musimwa, it is entirely competent to seek an order which is final in nature by way of urgent application.”
Before dismissing the airline’s application Justice Chitapi said: “…Albeit the pronouncements of the courts falling on deaf ears with respect to some legal practitioners, for posterity I will for the umpteenth time, in the interest of justice once again hit the drum loud and clear and repeat that rules and procedure are there to be followed.
Following rules constitutes part of law practice.”
According to the court papers, after procuring travel insurance policy, Mawumba said he made reservations for three rooms at Sheraton Istanbul Atakoy Hotel in Turkey for six nights after which on February 15, 2017 he purchased five economy class tickets for air carriage by Air Namibia to Istanbul.
On the same date, Mawumba said he together with his family boarded Air Namibia at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare bound for Windhoek in Namibia where they intended to catch another Air Namibia flight that would eventually take them to Turkey through Frankfurt, Germany.
However, upon arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Mawumba said his family expected to be transferred to another flight, but was advised by Air Namibia officials that they were not permitted to travel to Turkey because of their Zimbabwean nationality.
Mawumba further said his family was detained at the airport for close to three days without being offered food and accommodation adding “we endured the most horrifying time of our lives without the slightest access to basic amenities.”