Zimbabwe: Chivhu Clergyman Drags Ziyambi to Court Over Litigation Fees

A Chivhu pastor has dragged justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to the High Court, challenging court user fees in a case he won against the government.

Abinel Mukaro won a US$73,000 lawsuit against the government recently and is now required to pay 1% of the claim to the High Court registrar.

Mukaro sued Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and Detective Steven Dondo earlier this year after the death of his wife in police custody in a suspected foul play.

His wife Sharai Mukaro was, last year, arrested by ZRP on allegations of stealing US$1,000 and met her fate at Chivhu police station “dark room”.

Mukaro won the case with the High Court declaring a payment of US$73,500 in compensation, also ordering him to pay 1% of the claim to the high court registrar.

Represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Mukaro argues that the amount required by the registrar of the High Court is high and dissuades people from approaching the courts.

“In the application, Pastor Mukaro, who is represented by Sarudzayi Njerere of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), argued that requiring him to pay 1% of the total amount that he is claiming in a legal action resulting from the death of her wife infringes and deprives him of his right to equal benefit of the law.

“The clergyman argued that allowing the Registrar of the High Court to charge a commission on a claim, has the effect of shutting out poor litigants out of court and it makes justice a commodity that can only be accessed by those with deep pockets,” read the statement from ZLHR.

An inquest into the death of Mukaro’s concluded there was foul play leading to her death.

Sande ruled out that Mukaro was assaulted by the police while in holding cells.

“Pastor Mukaro wants the High Court to declare Item 2 of the High Court (Fees) (Civil Cases) Regulations, 1992 published in the High Court (Fees) (Civil Cases) (Amendment) Rules, 2020 (No.11) Statutory Instrument 221 of 2020 as unconstitutional as it infringes his right to equal benefit from the law as guaranteed in section 56(1) of the Constitution as well as his right of access to the courts as provided in section 69(3) of the Constitution,” read the statement further.

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