State Of Emergency Unconstitutional : Court
Victory for the people of Zimbabwe after Justice Priscilla Chigumba, this afternoon in the High Court, declared S1 101A invalid and unconstitutional effectively ending the two-week ban on protests.
In an interview with us soon after the court verdict civic leader, Mfundo Mlilo said; “The ruling asserts the independence of the courts and the importance of the constitution in our democracy. It is a welcome ruling.”
The outcome of the hearing is crucial in the sense that President Robert Mugabe raised the stakes when he openly rebuked judges who make decisions in favour of protesting citizens.
Zimbabweans have for the first time in history through various political and civic platforms broken out of their fear enclosures and with great determination begun mobilising around issues which affect their lives. In a panic the ruling Zanu PF party sabotaged the last mega demonstration organised by the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) by quickly gazetting Statutory Instrument 101A.
Earlier this morning, Justice Chigumba adjourned the court to 3pm after the applicants and the respondents had made their submissions. The applicants who are being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) lawyers Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga had argued that the S1 101A of 2016 is void because the regulatory authority which enforced the instrument has no power to make laws. They also argued that S1 101 A of 2016 must comply with Section 134 of the constitution in 3 respects.
1. Act must empower exercise of law making component.
2. The regulatory authority does not have power to make laws
3. The constitution is clear that Statutory Instruments cannot emasculate rights given in the Constitution.
Justice Chigumba had met both parties’ lawyers in her chambers on Monday and informed them that she would hear the matter Wednesday.
Harare lawyer Biti who is acting for the applicants — Democratic Restoration Assembly (Dare) leader Mr Gilbert Dzikiti representing opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda and residents represented by national vendors’ leader, Mr Standrick Zvorwadza confirmed the latest development.