LEGAL partners handling high-profile lawsuits against the Movement for Democratic Change are also Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s private lawyers.
Muzangaza, Mandaza & Tomana are acting in civil suits by persons claiming to have lost property during demonstrations and stayaways earlier this year.
In April the Department of Information and Publicity launched a campaign in the print and electronic media encouraging members of the public whose properties had been destroyed or damaged during stayaways to sue the organisers.
To date two suits have been filed against the MDC, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Daily News. In the first case, a Harare woman, Clarisa Muchengeti, is suing the three parties for $5,5 million claiming her truck was petrol-bombed during the March stayaway.
The other litigant is David Bello who is suing for $17 million in respect of a minibus which was also petrol-bombed in the March stayaway. In the two instances Moyo’s personal lawyers are representing the litigants. More cases are thought to be pending as the government encourages aggrieved parties to resort to litigation.
Asked for comment, Johannes Tomana said the clients could have come through former deputy Justice minister Paul Mangwana who one-and-a-half years ago drew up a list of law firms which could represent government.
He said the clients could also have come of their own accord. “But since we are not on the list of firms which were chosen by the (deputy) minister to handle government cases, I believe people come to us like they would approach any other firm,” he said.
He said his firm did not have an agreement with the government neither did it go through any tender process to represent the state.
“The fact that we have been listed for cases that are high profile does not point to any political affiliation or agreement. We have taken such cases like all the other cases,” he said.
The law firm has represented the state in a number of cases including the constitutional challenge to Aippa by the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe and a Supreme Court suit filed by the Daily News.
The firm also represented Moyo’s wife Beatrice when she sued the Daily News which earlier this year reproduced a story by the Sunday Times of South Africa chronicling the Moyo family’s alleged spending record in South Africa.
The law firm has also represented Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa in a contempt of court case last year. Tomana was last year appointed by Moyo to sit on the New Ziana Board.