By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER first lady Grace Mugabe approached the High Court appealing against they Chinhoyi Magistrates Court ruling which approved the exhumation of her late husband, former president Robert Mugabe’s remains.
Chinhoyi magistrate Ruth Moyo last month ordered that Mugabe’s remains be exhumed after noting that his children had no authority to appeal against Chief Zvimba, Stanely Urayayi’s traditional court judgement.
Grace, in her application, told the High Ccourt that she had initially written a letter to the magistrate who told her to file a proper application, which she did through her daughter, Bona.
She said the ruling came as a shock to her and should be nullified since the magistrate still acted on a appeal filed by her children regardless of the fact that she said they could not appeal at law.
Mugabe died in September 2019 and was buried at his rural home in Kutama, Zvimba, following weeks of a protracted wrangling with government which had intended to lay him to rest at the national heroes’ acre in Harare against his wish.
Chief Zvimba early this year revived the war over Mugabe’s remains after ordering Grace to ensure that they were exhumed and reburied in Harare.
This was challenged by Bona and her brothers, Chatunga and Robert jnr but the appeal flopped.
This prompted Grace to speak to speak marking the first time she has taken an active role in her husband’s exhumation saga.
Grace cited Chief Zvimba and Moyo as respondents in the application.
“In a shocking and unexpected twist of events, the magistrate respondent actually upheld a preliminary point indicating that the application she had directed to be filed was improper because the deponent (Bona) had no authority to depose to the affidavit,” she said.
“Whilst it is not the cause of action herein I will mention for good measure that the decision on that preliminary point was equally wrong as I clearly gave my daughter Bona Mugabe the authority to depose to the affidavit in question on my behalf. I reserve my right to file a separate process challenging this decision,” she said.
“The wrongful directive by the provincial magistrate and her clear neglect of duties is prejudicial to me in that it violates my right to equal protection before the law by allowing the irregular decision of chief Zvimba to stand when it ought not to stand at all. The exhumation order that was granted was improper in that issues of burials are governed by general law through the Burial and Cremation Act,” she further said.
Grace said the proceedings in the community court were a nullity based on improper service of summons as it appears in the judgement.
She said this so because the service of summons was irregular and that alone nullifies the proceedings at the community court.
“I wish to direct the court’s attention to the fact that this matter involves the former president of Republic Zimbabwe and to that end it has attracted so much public attention and that puts the Zimbabwean Courts under unnecessary spotlight within the region and the world over,” she said.
The matter is yet to be heard.