Lawyer Jeremiah Bamu’s law firm Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners have written a letter to the Registrar of the High Court of Zimbabwe demanding that his name should be removed from a Friday night order by Justice Isaac Muzenda barring recalled CCC MPs from today’s by-elections.
Justice Isaac Muzenda presided over the High Court application by Sengezo Tshabangu to stop CCC recalled MPs from participating in the 09 December by-elections.
Bamu said he was not part of the proceedings saying “It can only be an error” for Justice Muzenda’s order to reflect that he (Bamu) appeared for the respondents.
The letter, dated 09 December 2023, was copied to the Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission, A. Muchadehama, C. Kwaramba, and Agency Gumbo. It reads:
CITIZENS COALITION FOR CHANGE & ANOR vs. PRINCE DUBEKO SIBANDA & ORS HCH 8072/23
REQUEST FOR CORRECTION OF ORDER MADE BY THE COURT
1. We refer to the above matter.
2. May you kindly place this letter before the Honourable Justice Muzenda, with a request that he mero motu corrects the Order he issued in the above matter in terms of Rule 29 (1) (b) for the order to reflect that there was no appearance on behalf of 1st – 22nd Respondents, and that in fact the Order was issued in default of their appearance.
3. In the event that he is not minded to do so, may the writer (Mr. Bamu) be advised of same to enable him to make a formal application for such correction of the patent error in the Order in terms of the same Rule.
4. The following issues are common cause and serve as a background to the request:
4.1 The Honourable Judge was made aware that Mr. Bamu had no mandate and no instructions from any of the Respondents and he was not representing them.
4.2 The Honourable Judge was also made aware that Mr. Bamu was a complete stranger to the proceedings. He is not part of the legal team that filed the appeal which formed the subject of the application. He had not even read the application and he knew nothing about it. He was not privy to the proceedings that had taken place before His Lordship Katiyo J resulting in the appeal. He was not the legal practitioner of choice for any of the applicants and he could not impose his representation upon them.
4.3 He had in fact been dragged out of bed by a desperate plea from the Registrar to assist in a case management session with respect to a matter in which one of the principals in his firm, Mr. Muchadehama was handling. The Registrar advised that he had made prior efforts to contact Mr. Muchadehama and had failed. He had tried liaising with Mr. Kwaramba who had made an undertaking to liaise with Mr. Muchadehama and that had also failed. All that was now required was to manage the case as efforts to contact Mr. Muchadehama were being made. This is the basis and understanding upon which Mr. Bamu joined the session, only to be ambushed into a hearing in respect of which he had no prior knowledge, no file, no instructions from any person and in respect of which he completely knew nothing about.
4.4 Consequently, Mr. Bamu objected to this approach, and made an application that the matter be postponed to 10am the next morning (9 December 2023) to enable him to drive to Mr. Muchadehama’s residence and advise him of the proceedings, in the alternative, for Mr. Bamu to read through the papers, seek to obtain instructions from the client and be prepared to argue the matter. The only objection raised by the Applicant and representatives of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was that polls were scheduled to commence at 7am. Mr. Bamu pointed out that section 53 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] permits the Constituency Elections Officer to determine and fix a later time for opening of the polls where good cause exists. The fact that the court was seized with the determination of a matter that affected the poll in question was sufficient cause to facilitate the delay of opening polls, which cured the concern raised by ZEC and the Applicants.
4.5 His Lordship Muzenda J noted that he appreciated the explanation that had been tendered by Mr. Bamu, and excused Mr. Bamu from the hearing as he clearly had no mandate from any of the litigants. The Judge also expressed that if Mr. Bamu so wished he could listen in to the proceedings though taking no further part in them.
4.6 Consequently, it can only be an error, a patent one at that, for the order to reflect that Mr. Bamu appeared for the 1st 22nd Respondents in circumstances where it was abundantly clear that he was not, and had only been requested to assist in a case management process that would facilitate proper representation of all parties concerned.
4.7 This request is being made in view of the fact that should it remain uncorrected, it exposes Mr. Bamu to potential disciplinary action from the regulating body, the Law Society, for purporting to represent clients who had not instructed him to do so, and in circumstances where his participation was only intended to assist the court in securing proper representation of the parties.
5. Your assistance in this respect will be greatly appreciated.
Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni
Source Zimbabwe Situation