By Mary Taruvinga
LATE Zimbabwe strongman, former President Robert Mugabe’s children have challenged, in court, a recent ruling by Chief Zvimba ordering his exhumation and reburial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Mugabe died in Singapore in September 2019 while receiving medical treatment at a private hospital.
He was buried in a family courtyard at Kutama in Zvimba, his rural home.
This was after several attempts by senior government officials to have him Mugabe interred at the National Heroes Acre where other late nationalists are buried.
However, Mugabe’s family resisted insisting before his death, he had told them he wanted to be buried at the family’s rural homestead.
Last month, Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Wurarayi Mhondora, summoned Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe to appear before his traditional court and explain why her husband was buried at the family courtyard breaching traditional customs.
However, the widow did not attend the hearing held at Murombedzi Growth Point, amid reports she was in Singapore receiving treatment for an unknown ailment.
Chief Zvimba later ordered Grace to pay a fine of five cows and two goats for breach of traditional customs. He also ordered his reburial at the national shrine before 1 July.
However, Bona Mugabe-Mutsahuna and her brothers, Bellarmine Chatunga and Tinotenda Robert Junior last week appealed against Chief Zvimba’s ruling at the Chinhoyi provincial magistrates’ courts.
The children argue the traditional leader has no jurisdiction in interfering with their family issues.
Bona and her siblings also accused the chief of misdirecting himself.
“Chief Zvimba erred at law by making an order that overturns a burial order in respect of the burial of the late Robert Mugabe when the chief had no judicial authority to interpret legal acts from superior legislator to his jurisdiction,” reads part of their court appeal.
“Chief Zvimba erred at law in making an order that affects property rights of a party that is not part of the proceedings. The chief made a false finding of fact which amounts to an error at law when he found that the late Robert Mugabe was buried inside a house.”
The Mugabes also said the chief was also offside by ordering the exhumation of their late father, usurping the lawful bounds of his judicial authority.
“The chief erred by imposing himself with territorial jurisdiction to the affairs of an area that he does not have any territorial jurisdiction over.”
They further prayed the appeal should be allowed with costs for an order dismissing the judgment of the chief.
Cited as a respondent is Tinos Manongovere, the local villager in Zvimba who filed a complaint before Chief Zvimba that Mugabe was “improperly” interred in a courtyard.