By Richard Muponde
Former president Robert Mugabe’s children have gone to court to challenge a traditional chief’s controversial order to exhume the late strongman’s remains.
Chief Zvimba last month stirred the hornet’s nest after he ruled that former first lady Grace Mugabe violated local customs by burying Zimbabwe’s first black leader in a courtyard at his rural Zvimba home.
In the ruling, the traditional leader said Mugabe “shall be exhumed and reburied at the National Heroes Acre in Harare within 30 days or before the first of July 2021.
“You are also ordered to gather clothes and all his belongings and surrender them on or before the 1st of July.”
Mugabe’s children, who have largely remained silent as the dispute over the late long time ruler’s final resting place, rages have moved to block his exhumation by taking the matter to the Chinhoyi civil court.
Bona Mugabe-Mutsahuni, Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe and Tinotenda Robert Mugabe say Chief Zvimba is trying to impose himself in the affairs of an area where he does not have jurisdiction over.
“The chief erred at law by making an order that overthrows a burial order in respect of the burial of the late Robert Mugabe when the chief has no judicial authority to interpret legal acts from superior legislation to his jurisdiction,” reads part of the notice of appeal.
“Chief Zvimba erred at law in making an order that affects property rights of a part that is not part of the proceedings.”
The Mugabe siblings said the chief made a false finding of fact, which amounted to an error at law when he found that Mugabe was buried inside a house.
“This misdirection nullifies the ratio decidendi of his judgement and erred at granting an incompetent order for the exhuming of the body of the late Robert Mugabe, thereby usurping the lawful boundaries of his judicial authority,” they argued.
“Chief Zvimba further erred at law by imposing himself with territorial jurisdiction to the affairs of an area that he does not have any territorial jurisdiction over.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government wanted Mugabe to be buried at the National Heroes Acre following his death in Singapore in September 2019.
The Mugabe family, however, said that the former Zanu PF leader told them that he did not want to be buried at the national shrine because of the way he was toppled by his erstwhile colleagues in a military coup in 2017.
Mnangagwa’s government insists that it has nothing to do with Chief Zvimba’s bizarre ruling. The Standard