Hearing into MISA-Zimbabwe’s application and four others seeking an order for criminal defamation to be declared unconstitutional in terms of the new constitution opens in the Constitutional Court in Harare on Wednesday.
The case will be heard at 9.30am before the full bench of the Constitutional Court. The applicants (MISA-Zimbabwe and four others), will be represented by Advocate Eric Morris instructed by Chris Mhike of Atherstone and Cook.
In this matter, MISA-Zimbabwe is the first applicant while journalists Nqaba Matshazi, Sydney Saize and Godwin Mangudya, are the second, third and fourth respective applicants in the matter. The fifth applicant is Roger Deane Stringer, an independent publishing consultant.
MISA-Zimbabwe is arguing that Section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) is unconstitutional as it does not comply with Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution and should be struck off.
Sections 61 and 62 protect the right to freedom of expression, freedom of the media and access to information.
The Attorney-General Prince Machaya and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs respresented by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are the respondents in the matter, are arguing for the retention of criminal defamation.