BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
A MINE ownership wrangle between a Mudzi widow, Daina Mandiseka Munyoro and Zanu PF politician Danny Musukuma has taken a new twist with lawyers representing the Munyoro family applying for the presiding judge to recuse himself from the matter.
Musukuma, a former Zanu PF director of information, through his company Minerals Identity (Private) Limited made an urgent chamber application compelling the courts to grant him a spoliation order to proceed with operations on the disputed mining claim that is owned by Munyoro and her family.
The matter (HC4276/20) was heard before High Court judge Justice Clement Phiri on Tuesday with the ruling set to be handed down this week.
On Wednesday, Munyoro through her lawyer Kudzaishe Gama of Gama and Partners, asked for Justice Phiri to recuse himself from the matter, arguing that although “parties do not choose their own judges, similarly judges should not choose the matters to adjudicate”.
“In the directions handed down in court, his Lordship indicated that he will hear the chamber application for amendment which the applicant intends to file on August 26 2020,” the lawyers indicated.
“We have noted that the handwritten ruling, Annexure 1 hereto, omits that part of the directions given in court. We, therefore, humbly seek clarification concerning that part of the court’s directions/ruling. Is his Lordship still minded to hear the chamber application himself or he will allow the Judge President or responsible judge to allocate it as usual? If his Lordship is still minded to hear the chamber application, our clients wish to make the following entreaty.
“Our clients hereby humbly request that the matter be allocated to a judge as per the usual practice and procedure. There are two reasons why we make this request. First, in his earlier ruling handed down in court, his Lordship found that the purported “correction” of the founding affidavit in and by the answering affidavit was “well-conceived” and in order.
“Our clients reasonably believe that this is the same manner in which the chamber application for amendment of the same founding affidavit to correct the same alleged errors will be determined by his Lordship. In other words, his Lordship has already taken and communicated a position on the purported correction of the alleged errors. In our most respectful submission, it is highly unlikely that his Lordship will contradict his earlier ruling.”
Yesterday, Musukuma’s lawyers Chanaiwa Law Chambers, argued that the matter should proceed under Justice Phiri.
“In respect of the urgent chamber application for ammendments of documents directed to be filed on or before August 26, 2020 by his Lordship Justice Phiri, we wish to bring the following to your attention,” the lawyers argued.
“Although it is not captured in the written ruling, his Lordship directed that the matter be heard before him.
“The attached letter from third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondents should suffice as confirmation of his Lordship’s direction.
“Kindly proceed to have the matter set before him.”
Musukuma also cited police boss Godwin Matanga, Mines minister Winston Chitando, Munyoro family partner Mathias Madzivanzira, officer-in-charge Support Unit Makosa, Mutoko and one Ndemera as respondents.
In his application filed on August 12, Musukuma said the police forcibly dispossessed him of control of KooDoo 10 mining site. In their opposing papers, the Munyoro family, however, said they were the legal owners of the gold claim and that Musukuma was leading a team of illegal miners.