Masvingo Chiefs Lose Case Against Econet
Two Masvingo chiefs who had made an urgent application to the High Court to stop mobile operator Econet from erecting a base station has been thrown out with costs.
Chiefs Murinye and Mugabe say Econet defiled the shrine at Sviba hills and were also seeking to have the mobile giant pay for costs to rebury the human remains that had been disturbed.
The courts have thrown the case out and ordered the chiefs to play costs.
The record will have it that Econet signed a lease agreement for a 400 square-metre space with the Masvingo Rural District Council. This agreement was to run from 2010 to 2019.
When Econet began work on the place they excavated human remains. Upon doing so they contacted the council and Chief Murinye. The latter demanded two beasts, a homestead and that cost of restoring the shrine be covered by the mobile giant.
The chiefs claimed Econet had not consulted them before embarking on work but it was revealed that they were in meetings in which the permission to build the base station was given. There was time between then and even after the excavation took place for the chiefs to challenge the construction but had not done so until this year when Econet got approval from the National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
Alarmingly, a few weeks ago, the two chiefs had demanded 2,000 head of white cattle as compensation. Yes, 2000 head of white cattle.
We have always thought that the people that the chiefs should talking to are the district council folks. They are the ones who will know what is there and what isn’t – or at least should. Without taking the desecration of the holy place – accidental though it was – lightly, a conversation which did not have to go to court could easily have been had.
There are issues that are underlying, to do with technology against religious sites and yes, those have to be addressed but at the same time, one has to be reasonable about these things.
With information from The Herald (Zimbabwe)