By Mary Taruvinga
CANCER stricken former Finance Minister, Ignatius Chombo will not be able to travel to South Africa for treatment after the High Court dismissed his urgent chamber application for the release of his passport.
Chombo had pleaded with the court to release his passport which was seized by suspected State security agents as he boarded a flight to the neighbouring country last month.
The former Zanu PF secretary for administration, approached the High Court after Harare Magistrate, Lazini Ncube dismissed his request citing jurisdictional limitations.
This, despite the fact that another Magistrate, Babra Mateko had authorised the passport’s release before the drama at the Robert Mugabe International Airport when Chombo was bundled out of a plane.
High Court Judge, Justice Nyaradzo Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa ruled that the ex-Minister should have considered other options to make sure the Clerk of Court complied with the order adding the “application is opposed.”
“The Court notes that there are alternative remedies which can still achieve compliance. The Magistrate Court can still stamp its authority by ensuring compliance of its orders,” said Justice Munangati-Manongwa.
She added that the High Court did not have a duty to interfere with proceedings at the lower court.
“It is not for the High Court to enforce the orders granted by the Magistrates Court. Where a Clerk of Court refuses to obey a court order when called upon to do so, amounts to contempt of court, it does not require a superior court to enforce compliance with an extant order.
“Courts must ensure compliance with their own orders and not expect the High Court to ‘play big brother’ where there is either a review or an appeal,” she said.
The Judge added that the order sought by Chombo was also already in place.
“Applicant must seek enforcement of an order instead of obtaining the same order from a different court. Given the foregoing, the Court finds that there are alternative remedies open to the applicant at the Magistrate Court to achieve the relief it seeks,” read Munangati-Manongwa’s judgment.