THE Bulawayo High Court yesterday ordered MDC-T youths who hijacked a vehicle used by ousted Matabeleland North chairperson Sengezo Tshabangu’s driver Lameck Ndlovu to return it forthwith, saying their action was unlawful.
The youths, in another criminal case involving the seizure of the cars had indicated they were acting on under-fire MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s instructions.
Tsvangirai reportedly ordered the seizure of MDC-T cars in the hands of the faction led by secretary-general Tendai Biti
Ndlovu, who was the first applicant along with second applicant Zacharia Nkomo, Sage Mguni the third applicant and Tshabangu as the fourth applicant, had approached the court seeking it to compel Witness Dube and Kudakwashe Muchemwa to return the Isuzu registration number ADA 1568 to Ndlovu upon service of the order.
Dube and Muchemwa were cited as the first and second respondents respectively.
The applicants were represented by Phulu Ncube Legal Practitioners and alleged that the vehicle was violently taken by Dube, who is a driver for MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe, and Muchemwa in the company of some other people.
Judge Justice Andrew Mutema granted an interim relief and said failure by Dube to surrender the vehicle would result in the Sheriff being directed and "authorised to seize the vehicle, an Isuzu registration number ADA 1568 on sight and deliver the same to first Applicant (Ndlovu) or his designated agent".
Justice Mutema said the vehicle should remain in the custody of Ndlovu until the matter is finalised.
In his founding affidavit, Ndlovu said on May 26, he parked the vehicle that had been given to him by Tshabangu at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street waiting for Exmas Chinounyi who was supposed to give him money to fuel the car.
Ndlovu said he was in the company of Nkomo and Mguni when Chinounyi gave them $70 to fuel the vehicle, but before they could drive off, Dube and Muchemwa blocked their way with another vehicle, alighted and attempted to forcibly take away the Isuzu keys from the ignition. Ndlovu said he resisted and in the process injured his right hand as Dube twisted it.
He said Nkomo, Mguni and himself jumped out of the vehicle, but Dube and Muchemwa and several "other male persons" started assaulting them with fists and booted feet until Dube managed to wrestle the keys from him.
Ndlovu said Dube and Muchemwa dragged him into the car and drove with him inside.
"I had to jump out of a moving vehicle as first and second respondents sped away with me to an unknown destination. I sustained injuries on my knees," Ndlovu said.
He argued that he was in lawful possession of the vehicle having been sent by Tshabangu to fuel it.
"First and second respondents need to be compelled to return the said vehicle to me so as to restore the status quo ante. It took the police up to May 28 to locate the respondents’ addresses of service, hence this application."
In his supporting affidavit, Tshabangu said the vehicle belongs to a corporate body, Laphonic Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd that gave him authority to use it.
He attached copies of the vehicle’s registration book and a letter authorising him to use it in Zimbabwe and within the Sadc sub-region.