High Court lifts ban on Harare demon­stra­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Chronicle - Fidelis Mun­y­oro

THE High Court yes­ter­day sus­pended the ban on demon­stra­tions im­posed by the po­lice in the Harare cen­tral busi­ness district, paving the way for the op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties to carry out their protests without any hin­drances from the law en­force­ment agents. The sus­pen­sion is for seven days. This is meant to al­low the State to rec­tify the in­va­lid­ity of the de­fec­tive in­stru­ment used to ban the protests.

Po­lice last week is­sued Statu­tory In­stru­ment 101A, which tem­po­rar­ily pro­hib­ited demon­stra­tions in the cen­tral busi­ness district of Harare un­til Septem­ber 16.

This ef­fec­tively blocked last week’s planned so called mega-demo by op­po­si­tion par­ties and the civil so­ci­ety.

How­ever, Jus­tice Priscilla Chigumba, sus­pended the ban fol­low­ing a le­gal chal­lenge to the in­stru­ment launched by Demo­cratic Restora­tion As­sem­bly (Dare) Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda (Nera), Ven­dors As­so­ci­a­tion and Com­bined Harare Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (Chra).

Harare District Po­lice As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner New­bert Saun­yama cited as the first re­spon­dent is­sued the Statu­tory In­stru­ment last Fri­day. The other re­spon­dents in the mat­ter were Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral of the Po­lice Dr Au­gus­tine Chi­huri, Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dr Ig­natius Chombo and the At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ad­vo­cate Prince Machaya.

It emerged yes­ter­day that the po­lice failed to fol­low the el­e­men­tary pro­ce­dures in com­ing up with a statu­tory in­stru­ment.

This is de­spite the fact that the judge had ad­vised them through the of­fice of the AG to fol­low the con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ments set out in com­ing up with the Statu­tory In­stru­ment.

When the mat­ter was post­poned on Mon­day, they had two days to de­posit an af­fi­davit to show cause why they is­sued a Statu­tory In­stru­ment without con­sult­ing the af­fected par­ties.

In grant­ing the pro­vi­sional or­der yes­ter­day, Jus­tice Chigumba ruled that the Statu­tory In­stru­ment 101A is­sued last week by the po­lice was in­valid.

“It is or­dered and de­clared that Statu­tory In­stru­ment 101A of 2016 is in­valid to the ex­tent of its in­con­sis­tence with the Con­sti­tu­tion as pro­vided by Sec­tion 175 (6) (a) and sec­tion 2 of the Con­sti­tu­tion,” said Jus­tice Chigumba.

“It is just and eq­ui­table as pro­vided for in Sec­tion 175 (6) (b) that this dec­la­ra­tion of Con­sti­tu­tional in­va­lid­ity be sus­pended for a pe­riod of seven work­ing days to al­low the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity to cor­rect the de­fect.

“At the ex­piry of the seven work­ing day grace pe­riod it is or­dered that sec­ond re­spon­dent (Dr Chi­huri) shall process and deal with all no­ti­fi­ca­tions for pub­lic gath­er­ings and pro­ces­sions or meet­ings in the man­ner law­fully pro­scribed in Sec­tion 12 of the Pub­lic Or­der Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter 11:17).

Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Dr Au­gus­tine Chi­huri

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