High court hears challenge of police protest ban

HIGH Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba on Monday 05 September 2016 presides over an urgent chamber application filed by a coalition of political parties and a residents’ association seeking an order to set aside a ban imposed by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) outlawing protests in central Harare.

Source: High court hears challenge of police protest ban – The Zimbabwean 05.09.2016

Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, in his capacity as the Officer Commanding ZRP Harare Central District, issued the order purportedly under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and which was gazetted on 01 September 2016 as Statutory Instrument 101A of 2016 banning protests in central Harare for a period of two weeks from Friday 02 September 2016 to Friday 16 September 2016.

This compelled the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), the Democratic Restoration Assembly (DARE), Harare resident Stanrick Zvorwadza and the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) to file an urgent chamber application in the High Court, which will be heard at 10 AM on Monday 05 September 2016, seeking an order to suspend forthwith the operation of Statutory Instrument 101A of 2016 and to interdict the police from unlawfully interfering with the rights of citizens to exercise their right defined by Section 59 of the Constitution read together with Section 12 of (POSA) (Chapter 11:17).

NERA, DARE, Zvorwadza and CHRA, who are represented by human rights lawyer Tendai Biti of Tendai Biti Law, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, also want the High Court to order Saunyama to continue processing and deal with all notifications for public gatherings and processions or meetings in the manner lawfully prescribed in Section 12 of POSA (Chapter 11:17).

The human rights lawyer cited Chief Superintendent Saunyama, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo and Attorney General Prince Machaya as respondents.

Biti said the ban on protests in Harare will affect NERA’s demonstration scheduled for Friday 9 September 2016, which will not take place as it has been affected by the promulgation and imposition of SI 101A of 2016.

Biti argued that the ZRP ban of demonstrations in Harare is a serious infringement of citizens’ constitutional rights as defined in Section 59, Section 58 (1), Section 61, Section 62, and Section 67 (2) of the Constitution.