THE case of the reburial of the late former President Robert Mugabe’s remains has taken yet another twist after his family filed an appeal against last week’s ruling by a Chinhoyi magistrate dismissing the application to nullify an order by a traditional court to rebury him at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
Last Friday, Chinhoyi provincial magistrate Ruth Moyo said the appellants namely, Bona, Tinotenda Robert Jnr and Bellaimine Mugabe had no business in attempting to reverse the ruling by the traditional court as they were not cited as respondents in the first instance.
She noted that the person cited in the papers was their mother, former First Lady Grace Mugabe, while the complainant was Tinos Manongovere.
The Mugabes family lawyer, Fungai Chinwamurombe told NewsDay yesterday that the appeal was lodged at Chinhoyi Magistrates Court.
“We have filed an appeal at Chinhoyi Magistrates Court. The process is that you file at the court of first instance, and then bring it to the High Court,” Chinwamurombe said.
“So when my team filed at the magistrates’ court in Chinhoyi, they drove to Harare and by the time they got here, the High Court which closes at 3pm had already closed. Therefore, the process will be completed tomorrow (today),” he said.
The Mugabes had asked Chinhoyi courts to make a judicial review of the ruling by Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Urayayi Mhondoro, and other chiefs from the area, compelling the ex-First Lady to exhume her husband’s remains and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.
The appeal, as cited by Chinwamurombe, was premised on the argument that there was “absence of jurisdiction, impropriety of relief granted, irregular service of summons and that the judgment was biased”.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was pushing for Mugabe’s remains to be interred at the National Heroes’ Acre, but his family refused, saying he elected to be buried near the grave of his late mother, Bona.
The chief fined the ex-First Lady five cattle and a goat for burying the former President at his homestead instead of the family cemetery.
The ex-President was buried at his Kutama village homestead courtyard; a decision which traditional leaders argue violates traditional customs.