Gift Phiri 14 February 2017
HARARE – #Tajamuka leader Promise Mkwananzi’s attorney has slammed the
Sheriff of the High Court for bungling the case in which the
Constitutional Court (Con-Court) dismissed the activist’s challenge that
President Robert Mugabe was violating the Constitution by violently
The Con-Court bench – led by Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba – threw out
the case last Wednesday after ruling that Mkwananzi had flouted proper
procedure by lodging his application to the wrong address.
Instead of delivering his court papers at Mugabe’s offices at Munhumutapa
Building – the citadel of government power – Mkwananzi served the papers
at the New Government Complex.
But yesterday, Mkwananzi’s lawyer, Kudzayi Kadzere – who consented to the
decision – told the Daily News yesterday that the sheriff, Mcdoff Madhega,
had submitted fake returns of service and false service to the courts.-*
The sheriff, his deputy or assistant deputy, execute all sentences,
decrees, judgments, writs, summonses, rules, orders, warrants, commands
and other process of the courts, and is obliged to make a return to the
court, together with the manner of the execution.
“He was supposed to serve the president at his Munhumutapa office in terms
of Rule 9 of the Constitutional Court rules but instead of doing so, filed
a return of service showing that service was effected at New Government
“The sheriff is an officer of court and ought to take his duties
seriously!” Kadzere fumed.
“For him to bungle such an important case, which has never been heard
before in our jurisdiction, is unfortunate,” he said.
“Even more disturbing is that our client paid the requisite fees for the
sheriff’s services considering the risk involved in us having to serve the
application ourselves on the president.”
Efforts to reach Madhega at the High Court yesterday were futile.
But Attorney-General Prince Machaya, who was the government lawyer during
the court hearing, in asking the Con-Court to dismiss the case, cited the
bungled return of service and also noted the application to the president
was supposed to be served within two days after filing it in the
Con-Court, which Kadzere said the sheriff again failed to do.
“He was also supposed to have served the application within two days of it
having been filed as per Rule 27 but he fumbled around for seven straight
“For these reasons, the otherwise meritable application was dismissed,”
the 2015 northern region human rights lawyer of the year, said.
Central to the case was Mkwananzi’s accusation that Mugabe was
overstepping his authority, and that the police force and army had gone
under the president’s partisan control, which he argued was ultra vires
He cited Mugabe’s remarks at a war veterans meeting that followed one of
#Tajamuka/Sesijikile’s protests last year, where the veteran leader said
his ruling Zanu PF disciplined renegades during the 70s liberation war
against white minority rule by burying them “underground like rats, in
bunkers” – threatening to unleash the same treatment on the protest group
Mkwananzi described Mugabe’s threats as “unconstitutional and un-president
like verbal onslaught.”
Mkwananzi wanted the Con-Court to declare Mugabe’s actions
Kadzere has said they are going to re-apply within 30 days in terms of the
Constitution, adding that “we are not giving up”.