Zimbabwe’s High Court on Friday quashed a police ban on a rally by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai planned for Sunday in the second largest city of Bulawayo.
In a default judgment after the police failed to oppose an opposition application against the ban, Justice Maphios Cheda ordered the law enforcement agency not to interfere with or stop the meeting that Tsvangirai is going to use to kickoff his campaign for a run-off presidential election against President Robert Mugabe on June 27.
Bulawayo lawyer Job Sibanda, who represented Tsvangirai’s MDC party in court, said: Justice Cheda passed a default judgment after the police failed to oppose the MDC application.
There was no immediate comment from the police who under the government’s Public Order and Security Act can ban public meetings although political parties can challenge such bans in court.
The police – who have also banned public political activities in Harare – had banned the rally citing what they said was a tense political environment in Bulawayo that made it too risky to hold public political meetings in the city.
The rally, the first to be addressed by Tsvangirai since he defeated Mugabe in a March 29 presidential poll, will be held at White City Stadium.
Zimbabweans must return to the polls to choose a new president after the country’s electoral commission said Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in March but failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote required to takeover the presidency.
However, analysts say widespread political violence that has claimed the lives of 32 opposition supporters and displaced thousands others preclude a free and fair run-off poll.
Meanwhile former government information minister and now independent parliamentarian, Jonathan Moyo, has filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking an order compelling Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to court call the run-off poll on June 15.
Moyo says in an affidavit to court that the log delay in holding the run-off election was illegal and unconstitutional. The delay unlawfully and unreasonably hindered my enjoyment of my constitutional right to vote, Moyo says.
The matter has not yet been set down for hearing. – ZimOnline.