“I wish to direct the court’s attention to the fact that this matter involves the former President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and to that end has attracted so much public attention and put the Zimbabwean courts under an unnecessary spotlight.
“Her (Moyo) subsequent refusal to review the community court’s decision is an indication of her unpreparedness or unwillingness to dispose of the matter and that is clearly infringing on my constitutionally entrenched right to a fair hearing.
“I implore this Honourable Court to exercise its inherent judicial powers to correct and guide provincial magistrates who might find themselves in the situation of Moyo particularly when matters of national interest as the present one have arisen.”
She further asked that the High Court conduct a review of Chief Zvimba’s directive as Moyo had shown that she had no interest in dealing with the matter.
Mugabe said the proceedings in the community court were a nullity on the basis of improper service of summons which were delivered to her Blue Roof Borrowdale home – well outside the chief’s jurisdiction. She argues that this fact alone ought to have given Moyo confidence in quashing Chief Zvimba’s ruling.
She is seeking an order granting her application for review; that Moyo’s June 29 letter “together with all the processes that ensued as a result of it are hereby nullified and set aside”; and that Chief Zvimba’s decision is reviewed and set aside in its entirety.
Chief Zvimba ordered the exhumation and reburial of Mugabe’s remains after accusing the late leader’s wife of breaking local custom by interring him at his rural home in 2019.
Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup that brought Emmerson Mnangagwa to power in November 2017, was buried at his village of Kutama after weeks of dispute with Mnangagwa’s government over his final resting place.
Chief Zvimba said he had received a complaint from Tinos Manongovere, claiming to be a Mugabe clan member over the manner of his burial.
He fined the former first lady five cows and a goat, before decreeing: “I give powers to those who are permitted by law to exhume the late Robert Mugabe’s remains from Kutama and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.”
Chiefs in Zimbabwe have jurisdiction over their local subjects but it is rare for them to order families to exhume bodies for reburial.
Mnangagwa had pushed for Mugabe to be buried at the monument for liberation war heroes, but the family refused, saying Mugabe had expressed fears to close family members before his death that some of the people who ousted him would seek to conduct a traditional ritual with some of his body parts.- Reuters