High Court orders Mutare woman to vacate sold property


MUTARE—The High Court in Mutare has ordered Lillian Mutumwa to vacate her residential property after she refused to honor a sale agreement with buyer Tafadzwa Chigwanda. 

The court upheld a previous ruling by the Mutare Magistrates Court, mandating Mutumwa to leave the premises she has been occupying unlawfully.

High Court judges Justices Jester Charewa and Isaac Muzenda confirmed the summary judgment by Mutare magistrate Xavier Chipato, which ruled that Mutumwa must vacate the property. 

The judgment was based on an agreement of sale that Mutumwa allegedly denied ever existed.

Chigwanda, represented by Tanaka Dambuza of Mangwana and Partners, told the Magistrates Court that he entered into an agreement of sale with Mutumwa on December 23, 2022. 

According to court papers – with the agreement of sale attached – Mutumwa sold her property, Stand No. 3234 Chikanga, Mutare, to Chigwanda for US$40,000, with the stipulation that she would vacate by March 31, 2023; and sign all necessary documents to transfer ownership at City of Mutare's housing department.

Despite this agreement, Mutumwa did not vacate the premises, prompting Chigwanda to issue summons against her on July 20, 2023, seeking enforcement of the contract.

In her defence filed on September 8, 2023, Mutumwa claimed she never sold the property, asserting instead that Chigwanda had only provided her a US$10,000 loan. 

Chigwanda, viewing this as a bad-faith defence intended to delay proceedings, applied for summary judgment, which Magistrate Chipato granted.

Magistrate Chipato found that Chigwanda had established a valid contract of sale, noting that Mutumwa was legally bound by the agreement and had no legitimate defence. 

He emphasized that Chigwanda had verified his cause of action and that Mutumwa's plea was merely a tactic to delay court proceedings. 

"The applicant (Chigwanda) has attached an agreement of sale indicating that the applicant purchased the property from the 1st respondent and paid the required purchase price evidenced by the acknowledgment of receipt which is also attached," Magistrate Chipato stated in his ruling. 

He further noted that Mutumwa agreed to sell the property for US$40,000 and signed the sale agreement, thus binding her to its terms.

Mutumwa's appeal to the High Court to overturn the Magistrates Court's decision was unsuccessful. Consequently, the High Court ordered her to vacate the property, upholding the initial ruling.

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