FORMER President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, along with their family business Gushungo Holdings have scored victory against their former general manager, Stanely Nhari, who was claiming a whopping $756 401 for alleged breach of his employment contract.
This was after Nhari’s litigation for payment of his terminal benefits and damages was on Wednesday this week thrown out by High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero. The dismissal of Nhari’s litigation followed Mugabe’s submissions that the matter was not civil, but purely a labour dispute.
Sometime last year, Nhari petitioned the courts claiming that the ex-President and his wife used illegitimate influence to force Nhari from his position in October 2015, but was nonetheless ordered to continue working for no pay until November of the same year.
This prompted Nhari to sue the Mugabes for allegedly “breaching the terms governing the relationship between the parties, by use of illegitimate influence, force and might”.
But when the matter was brought before Justice Chikowero, the latter determined that the lawsuit was not in any way to be adjudicated by the High Court.
“I do not think the appellation delictual, vis-à-vis this head of damages transforms into a delictual matter. What was important to me was that the damages suffered were to plaintiff’s (Nhari) employment prospects. The claim, therefore, remained rooted in labour law,” Justice Chikowero said.
“The principles applicable in investigating the question of liability and quantum of damages are labour law principles.”
The judge said there was a special platform meant to investigate the question of liability and quantum of damages, which is the Labour Court, which court he said also determines
such factors as the age, health and Nhari’s qualifications.
“The Labour Court, being a court of equity, is statutorily created and enabled to undertake that exercise … Finally, I wonder why the Labour Court is established and called by that name if labour matters can continue to be dealt with by the High Court at first instance. In the result, I order that the special plea is upheld and the plaintiff’s claim is dismissed with costs.”