Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi has declared the recent occupation of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) offices by police as unjustified saying reasons given for the continued occupation of the property had no merit.
Justice Mathonsi made the remarks at the release of his judgment last week confirming his earlier provisional order barring the police from occupying Woza offices in Bulawayo’s Suburbs neighbourhood.
Two weeks ago, Justice Mathonsi ordered police to immediately vacate Woza offices after the latter had maintained a vigil saying the activists were holding illegal meetings at the premises.
“The explanation given by respondents (police) for the unusual behaviour of the police to take occupation of applicant’s (Woza) premises does not hold any water at all.
Mr Mabhaudi (Whisper from Attorney-General’s Office) appearing for the respondents submitted that there is an individual who uses the servant’s quarters but the police cannot (could not) conduct the search in the presence of that individual because they wanted a representative of the applicant who is not that individual to be present during the search.”
He said the police conceded that Woza’s lawyers Kossam Ncube and Nosimilo Chanayiwa also attended to the scene to oversee the activities of the police and they could have easily done so, but instead they chased them away.
“Even if it had been done by overzealous officers on the ground, the first respondent, (officer in charge Law and Order) had the opportunity when he received a letter of 13 June to search the house. In my view, the applicant has made a good case for relief sought, accordingly the provisional order is granted in terms of the amended draft,” said Mathonsi.
“The interim relief granted is as follows; the applicants be and are hereby restored to full possession and occupation of house number 33A Clark Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo. The respondents be and are hereby directed to order and facilitate the immediate withdrawal of all police officers from the aforesaid house and the surrounding yard.”