Lawyers representing the family of the late former President Robert Mugabe have filed an appeal against a ruling by a magistrate that they could not challenge an order issued by a traditional chief to exhume the remains of Zimbabwe’s founding father for reburial at the National Heroes Acre.
In an application filed on Tuesday at the High Court, Chimwamurombe Legal Practice, representing Mugabe’s children — Bona, Robert Jnr and Bellarmine, said Chinhoyi magistrate Ruth Moyo had misdirected herself when she dismissed their appeal.
Last Friday, Moyo ruled that the children had no locus standi to challenge Chief Zvimba’s order to exhume Mugabe’s remains because they were not part of proceedings at the traditional leader’s court. Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Wurayayi Mhondoro, ruled that Mugabe’s remains should be exhumed and buried by July 1, 2021
“The learned magistrate of the court aquo made an error at law and misdirected herself when she dismissed the appeal from the community court after incorrectly and erroneously interpreted section 24 (1) of the Customary Law and Local Courts Act to only allow the right of appeal from a community court to parties that were part of the proceedings before Chief,” the appeal read in part.
Mugabe’s daughter. Bona, is the executor of his estate.
The lawyers want the appeal to be allowed with costs and have the magistrate’s ruling be set aside.
Mugabe died in Singapore in September 2019, two years after his military chiefs removed him from office and his Zanu-PF party replaced him with long-time ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The government pushed for Mugabe to be buried at the national shrine but his family said the once feared leader had asked to be buried at his Kutama home. Before his death, Mugabe vowed that he did not want his “tormentors” to lead his funeral.
Construction of a mausoleum to bear his grave is, however, underway at the national shrine where many of Mugabe’s political peers are buried.