Wednesday, 28 September 2016


It was war in court yesterday as lawyers locked horns over the police ban on protests in Harare’s central business district, with the case spilling to today.

Tendai Biti,  who is representing 18 opposition political parties, told the Daily News that it was war in yesterday’s case in which the organisations are challenging a police ban on demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year rule.

The matter which was heard before judge president George Chiweshe will proceed today, after parties could not finish making submissions yesterday.

“It was not finished, so we will continue tomorrow (today) at 2:30. It was war,” Biti said.
The National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a grouping of the 18 political parties, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment, Combined Harare Residents Association and Sten Zvorwadza, are the applicants in the legal challenge in which they are seeking the ban to be declared null and void.

Their request is being heard together with another demand by Zimbabwe Devine Destine (ZDD) leader Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, in which he is also challenging the demo ban. Biti is representing Nera, while ZDD is represented by Dzimbabwe Chimbga from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who instructed Fadzayi Mahere.

The opposition parties argued that the ban was a backdoor imposition of a State of emergency, while ZDD argued that it is not a political organisation and must be allowed to hold its gatherings freely.

In the application, officer commanding Harare central district Newbert Saunyama, commissioner general of police Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo are cited as respondents.

“The net effect of the ban of September 16 is to take away the rights that have been given and provided by the Constitution. It is a backdoor imposition of the State of Emergency,” the lawyers argued.

The applicants further accused the police of violating the law and snubbing Nera legal secretary Douglas Mwonzora, who visited Saunyama’s offices to make presentations against the ban.
“The right to be heard was not respected before and after issuance of the notice of prohibition on September 12 and 13 and after.”

The applicants argued that Saunyama failed to follow laid down procedures.
“The ban is invalid to the extent that it does not comply with Section 3 of the Administration of the Justice Act, in that no reasons on the face of it of why the ban is being imposed… in other words, up to now, we do not know why the ban has been imposed,” Zvorwadza said in his affidavit. daily news


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