MP barred from wearing flag-coloured jacket

Source: MP barred from wearing flag-coloured jacket – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      26 October 2017

HARARE – The High Court has dismissed Mutasa Central MDC MP Trevor
Saruwaka’s application challenging his ejectment from the National
Assembly last October for wearing a jacket with the country’s flag

In the application, Saruwaka cited speaker of the National Assembly Jacob
Mudenda and the chief security officer of the Parliament of Zimbabwe as

According to a ruling handed down by High Court judge Jester Charewa on
behalf of Justice Lavender Makoni yesterday, the matter was dismissed with

Saruwaka, who approached the High Court after the incident that created
commotion in the National Assembly, had argued that his ejectment for
wearing the jacket was unlawful and an infringement on his right to
freedom of conscience and religion.

He further said there was no provision in the Standing Rules and Orders of
the National Assembly that barred him from wearing such colours.

In the application, Saruwaka, who was represented by Kudzai Kadzere from
Kadzere, Hungwe & Mandevere Legal Practitioners said he is an avowed
follower of the Rastafari religion, adding that the colours on his jacket
were synonymous with his religion.

“…it is respectfully submitted that, applicant being of the Rastafari
religion has a right to freedom of conscience and religion in terms of
Section 60 of the Constitution which right includes the right to propagate
his religious beliefs whether in private or in public within the confines
of the law.”

He further argued that he is entitled to the protection of the law.

“It is further submitted that, respondents do not have the power to
determine the colour of the jacket applicant wears. The respondents are
therefore acting outside the scope of their powers by ejecting applicant
from National Assembly sessions on account of wearing the jacket in
question,” he said.

He also said that according to the provisions of Standing Order 76 (7),
only jeans, T-shirts and sleeveless outfits, are prohibited from the
National Assembly.

Saruwaka’s National Assembly “drama” took place after Mudenda ruled in
June last year that national flag would not be allowed in the House,
following a plethora of protests against President Robert Mugabe’s rule
using the national flag.

Several MDC parliamentarians including Saruwaka had entered the House with
national flags draped on their necks.

The national flag became a protest symbol after it was popularised by
cleric Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement.

The pressure group demanded Mugabe’s resignation, citing government’s
failure to deal with corruption, nepotism and a serious economic meltdown.