Bid to stop Bill hearings hit brickwall

THE High Court has dismissed an urgent chamber application filed by Chitungwiza and Manyame Residents Association (Camera) and Alice Kuvheya, seeking to stop Parliament from conducting public hearings on the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

BY SILAS NKALA

Justice David Mangota on Tuesday said citizens who felt disenfranchised by not contributing their views on the proposed constitutional amendments because they fear contracting the coronavirus at public hearings could still make written submissions to Parliament.

Camera and Kuvheya, represented by Tonderai Bhatasara of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), in an application filed on June 10, cited Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, Senate president Mabel Chinomona and Attorney-General Prince Machaya as respondents.

They argued that conducting public hearings at a time when the country was recording a surge in COVID-19 cases was a negation of efforts to arrest the spread of the virus.

The residents also argued that Parliament, Mudenda, Chinomona and Machaya had not put in place measures to ensure the observance of coronavirus regulations and citizens’ constitutional rights.
Camera and Kuvheya wanted the proposed public hearings to be declared in contravention of sections 56, 67, 141 and 328 of the Constitution as well as Statutory Instrument 83/2020 as read with Statutory 199/2020 and Statutory 110/2020.

Meanwhile, Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo on Monday reserved judgment on the same matter following a chamber application filed by Habakkuk Trust.

Justice Moyo reserved judgment after hearing submissions from both parties.

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