Retired Army General High Court Judge President presides over protest ban challenge

High Court Judge President George Chiweshe

HIGH Court Judge President George Chiweshe will on Monday 19 September hear two urgent chamber applications seeking to set aside a proclamation by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to ban marches and demonstrations in Harare Central District.

The applicants include Zimbabwe Divine Destiny – a church and Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE), National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Stendrick Zvorwadza (a political party, civic organisations and a citizen respectively).

The applicants want the High Court to set aside the Government Notice No. 239 A of 2016 by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Chief Superintendent Newbert  Saunyama as it restricts the right to demonstrate as guaranteed in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. All applicants intend to hold demonstrations in the coming weeks. They are represented by  ZLHR lawyers Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga.

ZLHR lawyers will argue that the ban is unconstitutional as it is not proportional and does not comply with the principles of natural justice. Further the proclamation breaches Section 58, 59, 60, 61,66(2) 67 (2), 68 of the Constitution as well as provisions of the Administration of Justice Act.

This application comes after Justice Priscilla Chigumba on 7 September 2016 declared as unconstitutional S1 101A of 2016 gazetted on 1 September 2016 banning protests in Harare for a period of two weeks.

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