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Grace Mugabe Takes Chief Zvimba Head on, Challenges Order to Exhume And Rebury Robert Mugabe's Remains

Former first lady Grace Mugabe (2L) looks on as the coffin of former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe was lowered at his home village in Kutama, on September 28, 2019.

Former first lady Grace Mugabe has filed a notice for judicial review of traditional court proceedings that found her guilty for violating local customs at the Chinhoyi Magistrate Court yesterday.

Chief Zvimba, whose real name is Stanley Wurayayi Mhondoro, ruled last month that Mrs. Mugabe violated local customs by burying her husband, former president Robert Mugabe, in a coutyyard at his rural Zvimba home.

Chief Zvimba ruled that the remains of Zimbabwe’s first black leader should be exhumed and reburied at the National Heroes Acre in Harare on or before July 1, 2021.

But Mrs. Mugabe, through her lawyer Fungai Chimwamurombe, claimed that the proceedings followed when she was found guilty by Chief Zvimba were biased lacked locus standi, and there was an irregular service of summons, “impropriety of relief granted and there was ‘absence of jurisdiction as basis for review.”

Mrs. Mugabe claims that Chief Zvimba’s judgment has serious legal defects that must be corrected to attain justice.

“We have identified critical procedural and substantive law defects’ that must be corrected by this court to attain real and substantial justice in the judicial process and additionally reign in the Community Court presiding officer from overstretching their lawful parameter as a judicial officer” reads part of the notice for judicial review submitted in court.

Mrs. Mugabe said the chief was biased as the summons issued carried a sentence of five cattle and one goat.

“The summons issued on the 29th of April 2021 by the Chief already had carried a sentence of five cattle and one goat. This was made before the attendance and later on conviction of Grace Mugabe.”

She also cited the irregular service of summons. “Further to the plethora of identified legal restrictions that Chief Zvimba faced, the summons were not even served in the required manner by the rules of the court … that a summons must only be served on a defendant or responsible person at their residence or place of work within the physical boundary of the court’s jurisdiction. The summons that formulate the basis of this correspondence were served at our client’s residential home in Borrowdale in Harare,” she argues.

Mrs. Mugabe further claimed that Chief Zvimba failed to observe one of the cardinal principles of natural justice by making an order directing the disposal of property that belong to the estate of the late Robert Mugabe in the absence of the lawful custodian of such property

being the executor of the estate.

Chief Zvimba is also accused of imposing himself with territorial jurisdiction to the affairs of an area that he does not have any authority.

The matter will be heard in Chinhoyi courts at a date to be set.

Mrs. Mugabe’s children have already filed a court application seeking to overturn Chief Zvimba’s ruling.

Chief Zvimba was unreachable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.

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