HARARE – A High Court judge was given a house by the state on the same day he was due to hear an application by a Zanu PF activist seeking to have Saviour Kasukuwere barred from running for president in the August 23 elections, according to a court filing by the ex-minister.
In a High Court application filed last Friday, Kasukuwere wants Justice David Mangota’s ruling barring him from the election declared a nullity because it was made by “a compromised judicial officer who had received a house from the state three working days before rendering his judgement.”
“I am advised that at law, a judgement given by a biased judicial officer must be treated as pro non scripto (as not written) and the same cannot be appealed against but rescinded at law as the same does not appear in the record,” Kasukuwere said in an affidavit.
Justice Mangota granted an order sought by Lovedale Mangwana, a Zanu PF activist, who argued that Kasukuwere had been out of the country for 12 months leading to the filing of his nomination papers on June 21, and was legally ineligible to vote and run for public office.
Kasukuwere has appealed the judgement at the Supreme Court and the matter is set to be heard on July 27.
But before that hearing, Kasukuwere has filed the new High Court application in which he wants the court to rescind Mangota’s judgement.
“I was shocked to learn that Justice Mangota was given an immovable property by the state on July 7, 2023, the date upon which he heard the matter and reserved his judgement,” Kasukuwere says.
“The judge signed the contract of sale for the house funded by the state just before he got into court to hear the matter. I dare him to oppose this allegation and I will provide the answering affidavit with such agreement. On the same day the payment was done to the seller of the property by national treasury.”
Kasukuwere argues that the judge was “compromised by this transaction and ended up rendering a judgement which is clearly wrong and void at law.”
“A compromised judicial officer cannot issue a judgement at law. The order of Justice Mangota was thus void ab origine (void from the very beginning) and must have no effect at law. The judgement delivered on July 12, 2023, was thus a ‘thank you’ judgement to the state by Justice Mangota… who issued a void judgement which resulted from interference and his excitement to get a house. He did not own one before,” the former local government minister charges.
Kasukuwere said he was aware of a scheme to give judges houses, but only Justice Mangota was a beneficiary so far.
“Judges of the Constitutional Court had their contracts for purchase of houses cancelled by sellers as treasury did not release the funds,” Kasukuwere continues. “I am thus shocked that a High Court judge could get a house ahead of his superiors, that is the judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court. Even the judge president herself has no house from the state.”
The former Zanu PF political commissar, living in exile in South Africa, also states that Justice Mangota was the permanent secretary in the justice ministry between 2002 and 2013.
The judge, says Kasukuwere, was serving “directly under the command and instructions of Emmerson Mnangagwa who, at the time, was the minister of justice serving from 2000 to 2005.”
“He thus could not competently deliver a judgement against his former boss who is on the list of presidential candidates,” says Kasukuwere.
Mangota’s judgement is “embarrassing and tells a lot about the judiciary capture in Zimbabwe,” he concluded.
Lovedale Mangwana, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the justice minister and Justice Mangota are cited as respondents.
The matter is pending.