The applicants of the challenge were Democratic Restoration Assembly (Dare) leader, Gilbert Dzikiti representing opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda banner and residents represented by vendors’ leader, Standrick Zvorwadza who were arguing that the prohibition order issued under Statutory Instrument 101a is unconstitutional, as police have no authority to issue such a statutory instrument.
Lawyer and opposition People’s Democratic Party leader, Tendai Biti represented the opposition parties.
The parties were suing Harare central district police boss, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama in his personal capacity. They also sought section 27(1) of Posa, which empowers the regulating authority to prohibit the holding of public demonstrations for a specified period in a given area, to be struck off the country’s statutes because it is “clearly unconstitutional and is not justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom”.
The issuing of the statutory instrument had resulted in the calling off of a demonstration by (NERA) last Friday and rescheduling it to the 16th of September.
Earlier, President Robert Mugabe had said judges who sanction political demonstrations in the face of strong evidence that the protests will generate into violence are negligent and reckless.
He also said that they should not give opposition parties the go ahead to hold demonstrations,
But, of course, we can’t allow that to continue, (to have) these violent demonstrations unimpeded. No. Enough is enough. I would want to say we all have, all the people of Zimbabwe have, the duty and obligation to ensure that there is peace. It is not just we the ordinary people who should have the understanding (of the need for peace). Our courts, our justice system, our judges should be the ones who understand even better than the ordinary citizens. They dare not be negligent in their decisions when requests are made by people who want to demonstrate, to hold these demonstrations. In light of the violence that we had earlier on, surely they should have taken note to the fact that when permission was given four days ago, there was violence; when it was given two days ago, there was violence.To give permission again when they (judges) are to the full knowledge that it is going to be violent or (there is a) probability that there is going to be violence is to pay reckless disregard to the peace of this country. We hope now they have learnt a lesson, ivo majudges.
The respondents were given 7 days to deal with the issues if they still want the Statutory Instrument to remain effective.
- Parere Kunyenzura
- Zimbabwe Transformative Party