Court orders removal of Chamisa supporters from CCC office

The Bulawayo High Court has granted an application by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) represented by Sengezo Tshabangu to remove Nelson Chamisa and his alleged supporters from the party’s Bulawayo office.

Justice David Mangota, the High Court Judge, ruled that while Chamisa was not physically present in Bulawayo, he is ‘clearly’ associated with those who forcibly took over the CCC provincial party house at Stand 41, Fort Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue.

“Chamisa, in my view, did not have to be in Bulawayo to despoil the applicant of its property. The fact that he could have taken advantage of technological advancements which are currently awash the world over cannot, in the circumstances of the present case, be ruled out,” said the judge in his judgement issued on March 15, 2024.

“(Chamisa) must have employed those to achieve his desired end-in view in so far as his despoiling of the applicant is concerned. The old English adage which states, ‘he who acts through another acts himself’ holds true insofar as this application is concerned.”

This comes after CCC through Tshabangu, filed an urgent court application claiming on 30 January, 2024, the respondent -the former CCC leader – Chamisa, “forcibly took control, occupation and possession of its property though his “agents, assignees, proxies and/or employees.”

These supporters painted the property and its precast wall in blue and black colours and put up Chamisa’s portrait on the property. 

Chamisa opposed the application and distanced himself from those who “despoiled” the property, saying since his resignation from CCC he had not physically gone to the property in question.

He also denied partaking in any movement, grouping or political party. 

However, Justice Mangota, said neither Chamisa nor his alleged team denied that the walls of the property were repainted in blue and black.

“Chamisa, in fact, admits the existence of the blue and black colours which appear on the walls of the applicant’s property as depicted in the photographs,” said Mangota who stated the painting does point to an act of spoliation. 

The judge agreed with CCC and Tshabangu that in despoiling the property, “the dispoliators were acting with, or from, the instructions of Chamisa.”

Mangota said this observation was made on the strength of the application CCC served on Chamisa, where Tshabangu argued that if Chamisa was not connected to those who despoiled the property,  he would not have had the opportunity to see, let alone to file a notice of opposition to their application.

“…The same points to the inescapable conclusion that (Chamisa) is well connected to those who took occupation of its property in a forcible manner. The persons who took occupation of its property, it claims, must have forwarded the application to him,” said the judge.

He added that Chamisa also did not explain “the circumstances under which he came to be in possession of the application which was served at the property in Bulawayo when he was/is in Harare.”

“Chamisa does not deny that he received the application which CCC filed against him through the urgent chamber book. (Chamisa), in point of fact, received and reacted to it,” Mangota said.

The judge said evidence shows that CCC filed its application on 5 February, 2024, served the application on Chamisa at its property in Bulawayo on 6 February, 2024 and Chamisa filed his notice of opposition to the application on 27 February, 2024.

“Therefore, it cannot be denied that Chamisa is in clear association with the persons who despoiled the applicant of its property. The long and short of the observed matter is that one or more of those persons forwarded the application to Chamisa,” Mangota said.

The judge said Chamisa cannot mislead him by claiming that the application served at the property “found its way into his hands through mysterious means.” 

“Nor can he assert that the persons who despoiled the applicant acted mero motu without him being part of them, if not leading them to act in the manner which they did. The probabilities of the matter are that he was at the forefront of their unlawful conduct. He, in my view, made up his mind to be smart by distancing himself from the persons who not only sang his name and person in their unlawful enterprise but also drew his face on the walls of the property. The defence which he raises is clearly crafted by him,” Mangota said.

“Its aim and object, it occurs to me, were to raise material disputes of fact with a view to having the application which had been filed against him to be rendered devoid of any leg on which it would stand so that the same would be dismissed. (CCC), unfortunately for Chamisa, was quick to read through what he wanted to achieve. It established his link with those who acted for him.”

The judge said this established nexus concludes that Chamisa, acting through his team, despoiled CCC of its property. 

“The applicant proved its case on a preponderance of probabilities. It is, in the premises, ordered that: 1. The application be and is hereby granted as prayed in the draft order. 2. Each party shall bear its own costs,” Mangota said.

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