High Court pushes cases to next year as power cuts persist

Simbarashe Mtembo 


MASVINGO – The High Court in Masvingo has postponed cases before it to next year after the only generator that serves as back-up broke down last week and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has not been able to replace it.

Masvingo has for some time now been facing severe power cuts with electricity received for on average 2 hours a day. In that case the court depended on a generator which however, broke down last week.

High Court Judge Justice Sunsley Zisengwe told lawyers this week that he cannot continue with cases in the absence of power as all proceedings have to be electronically recorded for reference and academic research.

JSC secretary Walter Chikwanha said he was not aware that the generator had broken down.

“I am not aware that the generator at Masvingo is not functioning,” said Chikwanha. 

Justice Zisengwe said he would only entertain cases if lawyers are not giving oral submissions and rely on arguments filed in their submissions.

 “We are in a bit of a predicament. There is no electricity and our backup generator is down. Proceedings have to be recorded. There are three ways by which this court can proceed should counsels for applicants and respondents agree. 

“One way is to defer hearing of the matter to 11am today with the hope that electricity will be back or you can forgo oral arguments and base on your written submissions. We can also defer the matter to the next legal year since the third term of 2022 ends on Friday (November 25, 2022),” said Justice Zisengwe.

Some of the affected are two Kwekwe based lawyers Liberty Chimwaradze and Godwin Chizhande who had travelled to Masvingo to settle an estate dispute. They had waited until 11am but had not been restored. They then opted to file supplementary submissions and Justice Zisengwe reserved judgment.

Lawyers whose cases were postponed to January 10, 2023 are Omen Mafa and Wellington Davira who had a civil matter. The hearing was postponed after both lawyers agreed that it be heard next term.

“My Lord we have agreed with respondent’s counsel that the matter be heard in the next legal term. We hope that the parties would have found themselves before the said date,” said Mafa.

The development will create a backlog for the High Court which closes for the third term and will only be attending to urgent matters and bail hearings. 

Another matter that was postponed to January 10, 2023 is an estate dispute between Richard Govereh who was a self-actor and Esther Makasu who was represented by Foroma Chakabuda.

The matter was however, postponed after Govereh pleaded for time to find a lawyer.

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