FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe’s case, in which she was dragged to court for allegedly invading three upmarket houses in Harare belonging to a businessman in a dispute over her purchase of a US$1,4 million diamond ring, has been postponed to next week as it has emerged that children residing at the houses were left homeless and forced to abandon school.
The case, heard in chambers on Wednesday, was postponed by High Court judge Clement Phiri as he was unhappy with the sheriff’s return of service.
Justice Phiri ordered the sheriff to give full details of what happened and who blocked him from serving the summons on Grace. The sheriff will submit an affidavit which will be discussed next week.
Grace (2nd respondent) was sued together with her son Russell Goreraza (1st respondent) and Kennedy Fero (3rd respondent) who, according to court papers, is part of Grace’s security personnel.
Court documents show that Grace placed an order for the ring in Dubai through Thatchfree Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Jamal Ahmed.
The expensive ring was meant to be President Robert Mugabe’s 20th wedding anniversary gift to his wife. Grace tried in vain to reverse the purchase by demanding a refund. Ahmed’s lawyers, Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners, yesterday said the case was postponed to next week.
Supporting affidavits by Ahmed’s workers have exposed how Grace, who runs an orphanage and is an activist for children and women’s rights, trampled on children’s rights as she forced them to abandon school.
Sikhathazile Ncube, a domestic worker for Ahmed at 409 Harare Drive in Pomona, revealed that she, alongside her sister who has two school-going daughters, were evicted from the property on October 14. At the time of eviction Ncube was off duty.
“The respondents’ guards, who were now in control of the premises, forbade us to wait at the gate and instructed us to go and wait by the traffic lights at the intersection of Harare Drive and Alpes Road and that they would call upon receiving third respondent’s instructions,” Ncube said.
She said at 10am on October 15, the guards escorted them to the servants’ quarters and directed them to remove their belongings.
“I have not been allowed on the premises since our enforced eviction and when my sister’s daughter who needed a document that was on the premises with her mother’s property to enable her to write her A (Advanced) level examinations, I was advised I could not enter the premises,” she said.
“The child was escorted by the respondent’s guards to her mother’s quarters, (who) watched over until she found the document and she was escorted to the gate. As my sister had nowhere to leave the Form 3 child, the child was forced to leave school without writing (her) end-of-year examinations.”
Lazarus Manyetera, Ahmed’s gardener, said he was forcibly removed from the home with his wife and two children aged seven and four. His pleas to stay for the night fell on deaf ears.