Muguti and Machona Risk Imprisonment for Brazen Contempt of Court over Demolitions

Tafadzwa Muguti, the Harare Metropolitan Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution and Chitungwiza Municipality Acting Town Clerk Evangelista Machona risk imprisonment after they wilfully defied a High Court order which stayed all demolitions against informal traders’ structures in Harare and Chitungwiza.

In an application for a contempt of court order filed at Harare High Court on Friday 21 January 2022, Alice Kuvheya, the Director of Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST and the residents association argued that Muguti and Machona should serve a three-month jail term for contempt of court for brazenly defying a High Court order prohibiting demolitions in the two cities.

Kuvheya and CHITREST, who are represented by Rudo Bere of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, argued that they obtained a court order granted by Justice Edith Mushore on the 10 June 2021, who ordered that all unprocedural demolitions of homes, durawalls and informal traders’ structures should be stayed as they were not in compliance with the law in particular Section 32 of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act and Section 3 of the Administrative Justice Act.

Muguti, Machona, Chitungwiza Municipality and City of Harare, Kuvheya and CHITREST argued, completely disregarded the High Court order and unilaterally commenced demolitions of informal traders’ structures in Harare and Chitungwiza. Kuvheya and CHITREST said Muguti also made utterances in which he openly denigrated the High Court order and also foretold that demolitions would continue in defiance of the lawful court order.

The applicants want the High Court to declare Muguti, Machona, Chitungwiza Municipality and City of Harare to be in contempt of court. They also want the High Court to order Muguti and Machona to serve alternate three months in jail for contempt of court until such a time they would have purged their contempt and comply Justice Mushore’s court order granted in June 2021.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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