Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on Thursday dismissed an
urgent chamber application by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights or
ZLHR to stay the reciting of the national pledge in schools until the
court makes a ruling on the case.
ZLHR lawyer David Hofisi says the Constitutional Court will only hear the matter in June.
Government, through the ministry of education, introduced a national pledge which school children have to recite and Minister Lazarus Dokora said schools would start enforcing it starting next month.
President Robert Mugabe will now join 4.2 million pupils, parents and guardians in the inaugural national schools pledge to be recited in all schools on May 3.
The urgent application was filed Tuesday by a parent Mathew Sologani. The respondents were cited as Dokora, the headmaster of Mashambanhaka Secondary School, Mashonaland East, the headmaster of Chizungu Primary School in Harare and the Attorney General.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is representing Sologani, a father of three. The lawyers had argued in papers filed Tuesday that, the applicant (Sologani) is entitled to an urgent hearing of the matter due to the fact that he will suffer irreparable harm if his children are compelled to recite a pledge which is contrary to their views, opinions and beliefs.
The lawyers further said Sologani prayed for the following order:
- The policy requirement for recitation of the national pledge in all schools and by all schoolchildren as required by the 1st Respondent be and is hereby stayed pending the determination of the Constitutional Court Application filed in Case Number CCZ /16.
- Consequently, there shall be no recitation of the national pledge as required by the 1st Respondent pending the determination of the Constitutional Court Application filed in Case Number CCZ 31/16.
- As such, the 2nd and 3rd Respondents shall not, require school children, including Applicant’s children, to recite the national pledge as formulated pending the determination of the Constitutional Court Application filed in Case Number CCZ 31/16.
- Each party to bear its own costs.
The pledge reads" “Almighty God in whose hands our future lies: I salute the national flag. United in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality Respecting the brave fathers and mothers who lost lives in the Chimurenga/Umvukela. We are proud inheritors of the richness of our natural resources. We are proud creators and participants in our vibrant traditions and cultures. I commit to honesty and dignity of hard work.” voa