High Court Judge President dismisses application for demo ban

On 4 October 2016, Judge President George Chiweshe dismissed with costs, two urgent chamber applications seeking to set aside a proclamation by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to ban marches and demonstrations in Harare Central District.

George Chiweshe

George Chiweshe

The application had been filed under case number HC 9469/16 filed on 17 September by   ZLHR lawyers Tendai Biti  and Dzimbabwe Chimbga on behalf of Zimbabwe Divine Destiny – a church and Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE), National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Stendrick Zvorwadza (a political party, civic organisations and a citizen respectively).

The matter was initially set down for 19 September but the Judge President postponed the hearing to 27 September to allow the applicants and respondents to prepare heads of arguments. The matter was heard and judgement was set down on 30 September but the High Court postponed it to 3 October.  On Monday 3 October, the judgement was postponed once again to Tuesday  4 October where judgement was finally handed down at the end of the day.

The applicants were seeking to have the High Court to set aside the Government Notice No. 239 A of 2016 by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Chief Superintendent Newbert  Saunyama as it restricts the right to demonstrate as guaranteed in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

ZLHR lawyers argued that the ban was unconstitutional and did not comply with the principles of natural justice. Further the proclamation breaches Section 58, 59, 60, 61,66(2) 67 (2), 68 of the Constitution as well as provisions of the Administration of Justice Act.

The dismissal comes after a previous judgement by the High Court, which on 7 September 2016 declared as unconstitutional S1 101A of 2016 gazetted on 1 September 2016 banning protests in Harare for a period of two weeks.

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