Judge President Justice George Chiweshe on Tuesday dismissed the two urgent chamber applications seeking to set aside a proclamation by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to ban marches and demonstrations in the Harare central business district.
According to Harare lawyer Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Justice Chiweshe held that section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) was constitutional and, therefore, the proclamation by the police to ban demonstrations was above board.
“Both matters were dismissed and I am still going through the judgment in order to get the full reasons by the court,” Chimbga said.
The two matters were filed by the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment, National Electoral Reform Agenda, Combined Harare Residents’ Association and activist Sten Zvorwadza.
The parties presented their arguments through their lawyers, Advocate Fadzai Mahere of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Tendai Biti and Chimbga.
In the application, the parties had sought the High Court to set aside Government Notice Number 239A of 2016 by ZRP Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama on the basis that it restricted the right to demonstrate as guaranteed in the Constitution.
ZLHR lawyers further argued the ban was unconstitutional, as it was not proportional and did not comply with the principles of natural justice, but Justice Chiweshe ruled otherwise.
On September 7 this year, Justice Priscilla Chigumba declared as unconstitutional Statutory Instrument 101a of 2016 gazetted on September 1, 2016, banning protests in Harare for two weeks.