Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Opposition political parties which are part of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) yesterday had their case challenging the validity of police ban on protests in the capital referred to the Constitutional Court.
Nera had brought an appeal against the High Court judgment endorsing a police ban on protests in Harare. But the court ruled that the matter should go to the Constitutional Court for determination on the validity of the lower court’s decision in terms of the Constitution.
Both parties’ lawyers – Mr Tendai Biti acting for Nera and Ms Olivia Zvedi appearing for the State – reached an agreement when they appeared before Chief Justice Luke Malaba to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court to deal with the constitutional question raised.
“By consent in terms of Section 175(4) of the Constitution it is ordered mere motu (own one’s accord) that the constitutional question whether the decision of the High Court on the validity of Section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act – Statutory Instrument issued is valid and constitutional,” said Chief Justice Malaba.
Subsection 4 provides that “if a constitutional matter arises in any proceedings before a court, the person presiding over that court may and, if so requested by any party to the proceedings, must refer the matter to the Constitutional Court unless he or she considers the request is merely frivolous or vexatious”.
Nera was trying to overturn Judge President Justice George Chiweshe’s ruling last year dismissing opposition parties and pressure groups’ challenge to an injunction imposed on protests in Harare Central District by the police under Statutory Instrument 101 A of 2016.
They had questioned the validity of the injunction.
Nera and the pressure groups wanted the ban on protests in Harare imposed by the police from September 16 to October 16 last year put on hold.