ConCourt praised for ‘overdue’ rulings on repressive laws

via ConCourt praised for ‘overdue’ rulings on repressive laws | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell  October 31, 2013

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court is receiving widespread praise for moving to scrap controversial repressive laws, used repeatedly to stifle freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba on Wednesday rebuked state prosecutors for abusing the country’s insult laws, which have seen over 70 people facing legal action since 2010 for allegedly ‘undermining’ the authority of the President.

Malaba, while commenting on an ‘insult’ case before the ConCourt, admonished the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) “against prosecuting matters in which statements were uttered in drinking halls and other social places, as the pursuit of such frivolous matters only served to bring disrespect on the Office of the President.”

The case, brought by Bulawayo resident Tendai Danga, was on Wednesday struck off the court roll after the NPA withdrew the charges of ‘insulting the President’. Danga was arrested two years during an argument with a policeman in a bar, during which he was accused of referring to Robert Mugabe in an ‘insulting’ manner.

On Wednesday Justice Malaba also moved to challenge the constitutionality of other sections of the Criminal Law Act, including one used arrest to journalists on allegations of publishing ‘falsehoods’. He made the ruling in a case in which two journalists challenged the Act, under which they were prosecuted.

“A law cannot be used to restrict the exercise of freedom of expression under the guise of protecting public order when what is protected is not public order,” Malaba said.

Malaba, ruling on another matter, also called on the Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to appear in court to show cause why some sections of the Criminal Law Act are not unconstitutional, as successfully argued by Bulawayo artist Owen Maseko.

Maskeo approached the ConCourt to declare as unconstitutional laws infringing on artists’ rights to free expression and freedom of conscience, particularly freedom of thought as guaranteed in the Constitution.

Nixon Nyikadzino, a human rights campaigner with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the developments in the ConCourt on Wednesday were welcome, but overdue.

“I’m excited, but there is caution in my excitement. We have yet to see if the ConCourt is just dangling a carrot just by quashing some provisions of the Criminal Law Act. I would like to see a wholesale repeal of all unconstitutional laws,” Nyikadzino said.



  • comment-avatar
    ZimJim 10 years ago

    The ball is finally rolling. Justice will prevail, she ALWAYS does.
    Eventually. Its just a matter of time now.

  • comment-avatar
    Charwadza 10 years ago

    I need a copy of the precedent in submitting a Constitutional Case.

    I have my own case I want to bring before the Constitutional Case regarding the relief a person whose case is wrongly adjudged by a judicial officer is entitled to.

    Also, may somebody, as a public service, avail the Rules of Court of all our Superior Courts, that is, the High Court, the Supreme Court as well as the new Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe.

    Many viable cases are being lost because of procedural technicalities.

  • comment-avatar

    This is done to show the world zanupf has reformed (suddenly when they are in the sh1t)which is only a temp measure to get forex into the country.zanupf have been doing this since 1980.
    If people think things are changing in zim then they have learnt nothing from living in zim for the past 33 yrs.Do you raelly think nothing will happen to you if you call muguby a prick in public.

  • comment-avatar
    gideon nkala 10 years ago

    Look @ the name of the judge. You can bet Chidyausiku is fuming. He is rotten more than any criminal you can imagine. Malaba is the only independent judge in that court not the other zanu trash

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    Dzvondo 10 years ago

    Suddenly after Zimbabweans were terrorised by this “Insulting President bla bla ” and suddenly after an election when all harm was done ,and suddenly after Jonathan Moyo said something to the effect of removing “falsehoods publishn ” the Supreme Court now has direction and has moved fast to pass the law. We have seen this in so many circumstances. We all know POSA is unconstitutional but SUPREME COURT is sitting on dozen Cases challenging POSA .Only after some executive has indicated an about-turn will Supreme Court quickly pass that POSA is unconstitutional isu tanzwa hedu nekudzvanyirirwa.

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    Jogo Bonita 10 years ago

    Big up to the Concort.can somebody also look up to the issue of spot fines by the police.

  • comment-avatar
    chauya chauya 10 years ago

    What about posa which is even more repressive . Why start with trivial issues ang leave the more serious . We are not fooled