Masvingo – (CSO's) have landed a court victory to carry out demonstrations against the worsening economic conditions in the country after successfully challenging a police directive that barred them from protesting against bad governance.
The ruling has overturned a police refusal to grant permission to Anoziva Muguti of the Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) and Zivanai Muzorodzi of Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Trust (COTRAD) to carry out peaceful demonstrations in the city on June 16, 2016.
"Authority has not been granted in terms of section 26(1) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Chapter 11:17". For security reasons, applicant should not hand over petition to council," read part of the police order denying the CSO's permission to carry out their peaceful demonstration.
Zimbabwe Republic Police's (ZRP) defence council told the court that they had not out-rightly denied the application, arguing that their application had clashed with other big events thus leaving the police with limited manpower.
"On the same date that applicants wanted to carry out their procession, there was an Open Day programme held by the Law Society of Zimbabwe at Masvingo Civic Centre where police had been deployed. More police officers were also seconded to proceed to Chivi where preparation for the burial of a Liberation War Hero, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi was to take place on July 19, 2016," states part of the defence argument.
The court ruling however dismissed the defendant's excuses and granted the CSO's permission to hold peaceful demonstrations and further instructed police to pay all legal costs faced by applicants in seeking justice.
"The application in terms of section 27B of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Chapter 11:17 be herby granted. The respondent to pay costs of suit on attorney/ client scale," read part of the ruling.
MURRA and COTRAD were represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Attorney, Martin Mureri.
Masvingo Magistrate Lyn Manyika presided over the matter.news