4 December 2012

Zimbabwe: 'Kunonga's Legal Moves Defective'

THE Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa says court proceedings instituted by Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga last week were defective and his lawyers should not be allowed to charge any legal fees for the work.

Venturas and Samukange law firm is acting for Archbishop Kunonga of the Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe in the latest legal battle to regain control of the church's property.

It is also the CPCA's contention that Archbishop Kunonga's ACPZ was approaching the court with dirty hands.

To this end, its urgent chamber application to stop the evictions should not be entertained by the High Court, argues CPCA.

Mr Jonathan Samukange of Ventu-ras and Samukange law firm last week issued summons at the High Court seeking an order declaring Archbishop Kunonga's church as the legitimate owner of all Anglican Church property.

The same law firm also filed an urgent chamber application to stop the eviction of Archbishop Kunonga's chu-rch from the Anglican properties.

Judge President George Chiweshe is set to hear the urgent application in his chambers today.

This followed a Supreme Court ruling declaring the Harare Diocese of the CPCA led by Bishop Chad Gandiya the owners of the disputed property, putting an end to the five-year legal battle.

Responding to the summons, CPCA lawyers Advocates Thabani Mpofu and Adrian De Bourbon filed a counter-application for excerption to the plaintiff's declaration attached to the summons.

The church also wants to strike out certain portions of the declaration.

In the two-pronged counter-application, CPCA lawyers say Venturas and Samukange law firm should not charge Dr Kunonga and his Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe.

It is the lawyers' argument that the applications by Archbishop Kunonga are bad both in fact and in law.

If ACPZ had paid the lawyers such money, it should be reimbursed.

"Wherefore, the defendant prays that the claims brought against it be dismissed with costs on the scale as between legal practitioner and client to be paid by the legal practitioners representing the plaintiff.

"Defendant further prays for an order that plaintiff's legal practitioners must not charge fees for any work rendered to the plaintiff.

"If they have already done so, they (should) reimburse what they have received from the plaintiff through the office of this Honourable Court," read part of the application by the CPCA.

CPCA also wants the High Court to send a copy of the Supreme Court judgement together with the record of proceedings on the summons to the Law Society of Zimbabwe for consideration of the appropriate action against ACPZ lawyers.

Responding to an urgent chamber application by ACPZ, CPCA lawyers argue that Archbishop Kunonga and his church were in contempt of court and they should first purge themselves before approaching a court of law.

"The essence of the applicant's application is the argument that it remains in occupation of the properties in defiance of notices of eviction issued in pursuance to a Supreme Court judgement and order.

"The applicant by persisting to occupy the premises in the circumstances is therefore, in contempt of an order of this Honourable Court.

"Applicant cannot approach this court for assistance before it purges its contempt. Accordingly, the applicant should first submit itself to the eviction order and vacate all the premises before it can approach this honourable court for assistance," reads part of the opposing affidavit by CPCA provincial chancellor Mr Michael Chingore.

It is argued that the application to be heard today was not urgent and that the alleged urgency was "self created".

CPCA also argues that the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the urgent chamber application as it seeks to frustrate an order of the Supreme Court.

ACPZ, according to CPCA, has not established any rights to the property in question.

Archbishop Bishop, according to the CPCA, was being dishonesty by claiming to be the ACPZ leader, when he argued before the Supreme Court that he was still with CPCA and that his withdrawal or resignation was null and void.

Copyright © 2012 The Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.