Setback for Mukuhlani

Suspended Zimbabwe Cricket board members’ bid to have their suspension lifted faltered after the High Court dismissed their urgent application.

By Kevin Mapasure

The board, led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani, was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission on June 19 after they had defied a directive to put on hold their elective annual general meeting held on June 14, over electoral irregularities and up until a forensic audit had been conducted at ZC.

Following the suspension, the board members, as well as ZC managing director Givemore Makoni, appealed the suspension to the Administrative Court and followed that up with a High Court application seeking to have their suspension lifted until their appeal was heard and determined.

But that bid hit a brick wall, with High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa dismissing the application, with one of the reasons being that the applicants had tried to mislead the court through non-disclosure.

Despite the court ruling, however, all is not lost for Mukuhlani and his colleagues as they can still have their way.

In the High Court case, Fadzai Mahere represented the applicants while Thabani Mpofu represented the respondents, who included the SRC.

Yesterday, the SRC released a statement announcing they had won the High Court case.

“On June 28, 2019, Hon. Justice Musakwa of the High Court of Zimbabwe heard the argument in respect of an urgent chamber application brought by suspended Zimbabwe cricket board members, Tavengwa Mukuhlani and other directors, including suspended acting chief executive Givemore Makoni,” the statement read.

“The suspended persons had sought an order, inter alia, from the High Court that: (1) The honourable court hereby suspends the operation of the SRC’s directive dated June 19, 2019 suspending Tavengwa Mukuhlani, Givemore Makoni and others from the Zimbabwe cricket Board. (2) That the David Ellman-Brown interim committee appointed by the SRC is interdicted from conducting any of the affairs of Zimbabwe Cricket or otherwise holding out as Zimbabwe Cricket Board. (3) That Tavengwa Mukuhlani, Givemore Makoni and other suspended directors are entitled to operate as Zimbabwe Cricket’s board. The Sports and Recreation Commission wishes to advise that on July 4, 2019, Honourable Justice Musakwa of the High Court dismissed with costs the urgent application brought by the suspended directors.

One of the reason for the dismissal of the application was that there had been material non-disclosure by Tavengwa Mukuhlani and other suspended Zimbabwe Cricket directors, in their court papers.”

Musakwa noted that while the applicants had argued they had not been heard, acting general manager Makoni had written to the SRC explaining why they had gone ahead with their elective AGM, in a letter dated June 17.

“. . . it cannot be said by any stretch of imagination that the applicant’s right to be heard was violated. It is disclosure of these communications that the applicants have suppressed in the present application. They have clearly not been candid with the court on this aspect and this should non-suit them.”

It, however, is not the end of the world for the suspended board as well as Makoni, as they will still have their appeal heard, but their best hope lies in the International Cricket Council board meeting that will be held on July 18.

At that meeting, the ZC issue will top the agenda, and it is likely that Zimbabwe will be suspended from the ICC over government interference.

The ICC is likely to demand the reinstatement of the elected board as it does not condone the interference by governments in the management of cricket affairs.

ZC last night in a statement said that they would appeal the ruling.

“Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has become aware of a judgment handed down by the High Court today (yesterday), dismissing an urgent application to suspend the operation of the Sports and Recreation Commission directive suspending the legitimate ZC board as well as ZC acting managing director Givemore Makoni,” it said.

“ZC is appealing against the judgment. It is important to note that the judgment was on technical issues and not on the merits or substance of the matter.”

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