via Mazowe residents accuse Chihuri, Mohadi of defying court order – DailyNews Live 18 January 2015 by Tendai Kamhungira
HARARE – Mazowe residents who are being evicted from Manzou Farm have filed an urgent contempt of court application against Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, on allegations of defying a court order.
The applicants, who are represented by Tonderai Bhatasara and Gift Mtisi, are Aspinas Makufa, Dhaisi Musekiwa, George Musa, Costa Chirimba and Gift Chikowore.
In the application, the residents also cited commissioner-general of police Augustine Chihuri and Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora as respondents.
The families claim that they have been staying at the farm since the year 2000 and had approached the government to regularise their stay.
It is widely believed that the families were being evicted in a move reportedly aimed at paving way for First Lady Grace Mugabe’s private wildlife sanctuary. However, Zanu PF and provincial governor Martin Dinha distanced Grace from the callous actions.
The residents based their application on a High Court Judge Susan Mavhangira’s March 2014 ruling.
The provisional order was eventually confirmed by the court on August 20, last year.
According to court documents, since then the residents were in peaceful occupation of the land.
But despite the court order, police officers last week stormed the farm and started destroying the residents’ property, prompting the lawyers to file another court application.
Following the application, High Court judge Erica Ndewere ordered the police to stop the demolitions.
The residents, however, aver that damage had already been done, such that the police officers should be found guilty of contempt.
One of the residents wrote in an affidavit, “Since we had an order of the court and as law-abiding citizens, we proceeded to rebuild our homes and prepared fields and planted various crops ranging from maize, beans, groundnuts and tobacco.”
Makufa said, “On Wednesday the 7th of January (2015) in the morning, five UD trucks came full of police officers in uniform, some in riot gear, armed with guns, logs, iron bars, dogs and baton sticks. They started demolishing and destroying the homes and property.”
Makufa said the police officers defied the final court order, claiming they had other directives.
“It is clear that by having officers under their command and control, demolish and destroy our homes and property, respondents willingly or intentionally failed to comply with the court order.
“I aver that the disobedience of the court order by the respondent is wilful or reckless and also mala fide,” Makufa said.
He said Mohadi and Chihuri had shown their disrespect of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the court order.
“Their conduct is contemptuous as it is intentional. Their conduct is reprehensible and punishable,” he said.
High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday postponed the matter to January 30.