MUGABE FIGHTS TO KEEP CONTROVERSIAL MAZOWE FARM
FORMER President Robert Mugabe’s family business, Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, which was in January this year provisionally ordered off Smithfield Farm in Mazowe, to pave way for three small-scale gold miners, has once again approached the High Court pushing for the matter to be finalised.
After being temporarily kicked off the farm last month, Mugabe through his security officer, Mkhululi Nyoni, vowed to stay put arguing the court order which provisionally granted the small-scale gold miners authority to conduct operations thereat, had been irregularly made by the High Court.
Mugabe’s business claims followed High Court judge Justice Happius Zhou’s provisional order which evicted Gushungo Holdings together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Support Unit from Smithfield Farm ordering them to desist from interfering with the miners, Shepherd Nyazvigo, Bright Mawonga and Mohammed Rezwani Khan.
However, when Gushungo Holdings challenged the provisional order through an urgent application, it was ruled not to have met the requirements of an urgent matter. This prompted Mugabe’s firm to refile the application on Monday last week.
“The applicant (Gushungo Holdings) submits that it has satisfied the requirements for urgency of this application based on the following: the applicant was not served with the respondent’s urgent chamber application and therefore was not given an opportunity to make any representations before the provisional order for an interdict was granted to the respondents (Nyazvigo, Mawonga and Khan),” Gushungo lawyer advocate Thabani Mpofu said.
“This resulted in a situation whereby pertinent evidence relating to the invalidity of the respondent’s claim was not placed before the honourable judge. The documents that were produced by the respondents are not actual proof of the mining claims.
“The respondent’s mining operations on the applicant’s farm have created a situation which has made it difficult for the applicant to conduct its farming activities. There is a clash in the mining and farming activities on the farm and the respondents are staking their claims based on invalid documents.”
Mpofu further said Mugabe’s business would suffer irreparable harm, if the matter was not dealt with forthwith, because the currently operative provisional order was aiding an illegality which needed to be rectified.
“Further, the urgent chamber application in the main matter is fraught with various technical irregularities, which if the applicant had been present at the hearing to point out, may have resulted in the matter being dismissed in its entirety. The applicant is therefore seeking an opportunity to make its representations in this regard,” Mpofu said.
“The respondents suffer no prejudice from the expedited hearing of this matter because the respondents are already carrying out their mining activities on the farm, albeit based on invalid documents, and all parties in this matter have an interest in final resolution of this matter.
In his founding affidavit Nyoni denied having personally been served with the application but said he “had no difficulties with the fact that the urgent chamber application was served on his employer”.
Nyoni further said although Justice Zhou dealt with the matter in his chambers, none of the cited respondents cited in the matter had legal personality.
“In particular, the Chief Security Officer is a non-legal persona and proceedings brought under such circumstances are invalid. The application ought to be struck off the roll for that reason. Further, none of the mining authorities were cited in this mining dispute,” Nyoni said.
According to the court papers, sometime in 2013, Nyazvigo, Mawonga and Khan were chased and dispossessed of their mining claims by Mugabe’s firm and the ZRP Protection Unit (PPU) on the basis that they were mining in a protected zone.
However, the miners, last November returned to their mining sites after obtaining a ruling in their favour.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.