Mugabe Family Appeals Magistrate’s Ruling On Late Strongman’s Exhumation

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

THE family of late former president Robert Mugabe has filed an appeal against the ruling by a Chinhoyi magistrate dismissing the application to nullify an order by a traditional court to exhume his remains and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Last Friday, Mashonaland West provincial magistrate Ruth Moyo in her brief ruling at the new Chinhoyi Court Complex, said the appellants namely, Bona Mugabe, Tinotenda Robert Jnr and Bellaimine Mugabe had no business in attempting to reverse the ruling by the traditional court as they were not cited as respondents in the first instance.

She noted the person cited in the case was their mother, former First Lady Grace Mugabe, while the complainant was one Tinos Manongovere.

The family lawyer Fungai Chinwamurombe told Monday, the appeal had been lodged at Chinhoyi Magistrates Court, which is the court of first instance while similar papers would be deposited at the High Court tomorrow (Tuesday).

“Yes, we have filed an appeal at Chinhoyi Magistrates Court. The process is that you file at the court of first instance, and then bring it to the High Court,” Chimwanamurombe said.

“So when my team filed at magistrate’s court at Chinhoyi, they drove to Harare and by the time they got here the High Court which closes at 3pm had already closed. Therefore, the process will be completed tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.

The Mugabes had asked Chinhoyi courts to make a judicial review of the ruling by Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Urayayi Mhondoro, and other chiefs from the area, compelling the ex-First Lady to exhume her husband’s remains and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

The appeal, as cited by Chimwamurombe, was premised on the argument that there was “absence of jurisdiction, impropriety of relief granted, irregular service of summons and that the judgement was biased”.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was pushing for Mugabe to be laid to rest at a special mausoleum at the National Heroes’ Acre, but his family refused, saying he wanted to be buried near the grave of his late mother, Bona.

The chief fined the ex-First Lady five cattle and a goat for burying the former president at his homestead instead of the family cemetery.

The ex-president was buried at his Kutama village homestead’s courtyard; a place which traditional leaders argue violates customs observed in the area.