MP loses high court challenge against Mnangagwa

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been cleared in a case he was sued to explain a land deal with millionaire and land developer businessman, Ken Sharpe, by a Harare MP and two others.

Allan Norman Markham, MP for Harare North, had sued the president, seeking to have an order that the land deal between City of Harare and Sharpe, allegedly forced through by local government minister, July Moyo, to be reversed on the grounds that it was not only illegal but a “grand theft” of land belonging to the people of Zimbabwe.

The deal involved 273 hectares of prime land in Harare’s affluent area of Pomona.

High court judge, Justice David Mangota, in a judgement dated May 11 2022, ruled that the applicants had no authority to sue the respondents.

The judge said the applicants sued Mnangagwa in violation of rule 18 of the High Court rules.

The rule says no summons or other civil processes of the court may be issued out against the president or against any of the judges of the High Court without the leave of the court, granted on a court application being made for that purpose.

Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, who represented the respondents, said the applicants did not do this, a submission which was accepted by the court.

“I am satisfied that applicants who are total strangers to the respondents do not have the requisite locus to sue the latter. their suit was akin to a leap into the dark so to speak. It hanged on nothing. It was therefore completely dvoid of merit,” said the judge.

“The respondents succeed in all the three in limine (preliminary) matters which they raised. They showed that the application which sued the President of Zimbabwe without leave of the court is fatally defective and cannot,  therefore, stand. They showed further that the applicants lacked the locus standi to sue the respondents and that the suit which was brought against them was or is fraught with material disputes of fact, which cannot be resolved on the papers. The application is therefore dismissed with costs,” ruled the judge.

Markham had submitted that after a series of litigations between the City of Harare and Sharpe’s Augur Investments, a secret Deed of Settlement was executed on May 28, 2018, at the behest of Moyo, who also claimed he had Mnangagwa’s authority.

Mnangagwa was cited as the ninth respondent in the court filing.

Markham, Tavonga Savings Scheme and Pikicha had argued that the Deed of Settlement was not legal.

They also wanted an order “setting aside the transfer of the property covered in the Deed of Settlement to the 7th respondent (Doorex Properties), being a certain 273,2 hectares of land called Stand 654 Pomona Township.

The applicants also wanted the original agreement between the City of Harare and Augur for the development of the Harare Airport Road declared null and void on the basis that, besides the illegal signatures on the Deed of Settlement, the deal did not go through tender and did not comply with Zimbabwe’s Investment laws.