By Mary Taruvinga
THE Supreme Court on Friday reserved judgment in a case in which former President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace are being sued by their farm manager Stanley Nhari for $756 000.
Nhari appealed to the Supreme Court after losing the case to the Mugabes at the High Court.
It is his argument that he was forced to work with no pay by the former First Family.
Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Nhari complained that the High Court erred in dismissing his demand and requested that the case be referred back to same court for determination.
“We will submit that the case needs to be referred back to the High Court and be dealt with by a Labour Court.
“There is no need for this court to deal with the matter because it is about labour issues,” said Mpofu.
The Supreme Court bench, chaired by Justice Paddington Garwe and included Justices Vernanda Makoni and Susan Mavangira, reserved judgment after hearing submissions.
Nhari cited Mugabe, Grace and the family business, Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, as first, second and third respondents respectively in his summons.
In his declaration, Nhari claims the former President and his wife used illegitimate influence to force him to relinquish his position in October 2015.
He was allegedly ordered to continue working without pay until November of the same year.
“In breach of the terms governing the relationship between the parties, first and second defendants by use of illegitimate influence, force and might, required plaintiff (Nhari) to relinquish his position on October 6, 2015 but was, however, ordered to continue working for no outlay until November 6, 2015,” Nhari said.
“The acts of the defendants in interfering with the plaintiff’s prospects are wrongful and deliberate and resulted in plaintiff losing potential employment and consequently yielded a loss of $588 000, which is due from the defendants to the plaintiff.”
Nhari said Mugabe owed him $800 000 as a result of the labour dispute.
“As a result of the unlawful termination of the employment relationship, plaintiff is owed by defendants damages for a period extending from October 1, 2015 to November 6, 2015 being the sum of $8 909 computed on the basis of the salary that plaintiff was earning which sum the defendants have refused to pay,” Nhari said.
“Plaintiff is also owed $69 492 in accrued leave days reckoned from January 1, 2007 to November 6, 2015 such leave accruing at 25 days per year,” court papers show.
Nhari submitted that at the time of termination of the relationship between the parties, he was entitled by arrangement to a motor vehicle or to the value of such vehicle being $90 000.
Nhari also said he was demanding compensation from Mugabe and Grace, who allegedly used the public media to denigrate him at various gatherings.
“Upon the enforced termination of the employment relationship, the defendants used public media to denigrate plaintiff at various gatherings in a manner that imperiled his future prospects of employment,” it was submitted.