ZLHR challenges ban of COTRAD operations in Zim

By Court Reporter

ZIMBABWE LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (ZLHR) on Thursday 14 March 2019
filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court challenging
government’s decision to suspend the operations of Community Tolerance
Reconciliation and Development Trust (COTRAD), a local
non-governmental organistaion (NGO).

Government through Masvingo District Administrator (DA) on Monday 11
March 2019 ordered COTRAD to cease operations pending investigation on
its registration.

In a letter written to COTRAD, Masvingo District Administrator
instructed COTRAD not to carry out any activities “of any kind” in the
jurisdiction of Masvingo district pending investigation on the
registration and approval issues of the organisation by the DA’s
office.

This prompted COTRAD, to engage Denford Halimani of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) to file an urgent chamber application in the
High Court challenging the DA’s decision to outlaw the NGO’s
operations and seeking an order to be allowed to resume full
operations in Masvingo without any interference.

In the application, Halimani argued that the District Administrator is
not empowered by any law to suspend or stop COTRAD’s operations as it
is not registered as a Private Voluntary Organistaion but as a Trust,
created by a Notarial Deed of Donation and Trust, which is registered
at the Deeds Registry.

Halimani argued that the order compelling COTRAD, which has been
operating in Masvingo province for the past six years, to cease
operations had left 5 000 underprivileged people prejudiced and
without recourse including the organisation’s eight employees.

COTRAD wants the High Court to reverse the Masvingo District
Administrator’s directive to suspend its operations including to be
allowed to resume full operations in Masvingo without any interference
and for the decision to be declared null and void and of no force and
effect.