THE Bulawayo High Court has deferred the hearing of MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s challenge against stoppage of his Kwekwe rally to tomorrow.
BY SILAS NKALA
The matter was initially supposed to be heard on Monday, but was rolled over to tomorrow under unclear circumstances.
Last Friday, MDC Alliance Kwekwe district organising secretary Charles Madhihwa filed an urgent chamber application, challenging the cancellation of the opposition party’s Kwekwe rally scheduled for last Sunday. In the application, the opposition leader cited Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, out-going Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu and other top cops in Kwekwe.
Police banned the rally citing health concerns following a typhoid outbreak in Gweru.
In his founding affidavit, Madhihwa submitted that the police failed to prove that the rally was a threat to public health, likely to disrupt vehicular traffic or cause injury to the participants or other security threats.
“No evidence was provided on oath as envisaged by the (Public Order and Security) Act (Posa) in question. The conduct of the police as the responsible authority is unlawful and in contravening of section 26 of Posa chapter 11:17 that the respondents purport to be enforcing and there are no cogent grounds for prohibiting the public meeting and is a clear violation of applicant’s freedom of assembly, association as well as expressed which freedoms are constitutionally protected,” the affidavit read in part.
“In view of the seriousness of the matter and the unlawfulness of the respondent actions there is need to give notice to the parties involved. No cogent at all has been given by the regulating authority for its decision. The action of the first respondent attempts to infringe on Section 58 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which enshrines the right to freedom of assembly and association as well as the freedom of expression enshrined in Section 61. That is so important that it cannot be arbitrary or unreasonably taken way by any person including first respondent.”
Madhihwa submitted that any delays would jeopardise the planned public meeting, both financially and socially.
“Applicant will thus suffer irreparable financial prejudice to re-organise the meeting. It is submitted that the matter is urgent and should be treated as such. I submit that there is no other remedy open to applicant at the moment other than to approach the court,” he submitted.
Madhihwa then prayed for the police ban to be declared null and void and for the police to meet the legal costs.