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ConCourt summons Mnangagwa as sacked journalist wins landmark ruling
October 30, 2013
this article on the Radio VOP website
Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Wednesday summoned Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to appear
before the Supreme to defend the constitutionality of some provisions
of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act after the law was declared
granted the order after suspended and former Zimbabwe Independent
journalist Constantine Chimakure and the newspaper’s former
editor Vincent Kahiya, who now serves as Alpha Media Holdings (AMH)
Group Editor-In-Chief petitioned the highest court challenging the
constitutionality of some provisions of the law under which the
State had relied upon in prosecuting the two journalists.
Kahiya were arrested in 2009 and charged with publishing false statements
to the effect that some law enforcement agents abducted
some political and human rights campaigners during in late 2008.
The Zimbabwe Independent report contained the names of police officers
and state security agents who were implicated in the abductions
of human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and other activists.
In his 81-page
judgment, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba ruled that Mnangagwa
should appear if he so wishes before the Supreme Court on 20 November
to show cause why Section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act should not be declared to be in contravention of
Section 20 (1) of the Constitution.
ruled that Section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act is unconstitutional as it contravenes the declaration
of the fundamental right to freedom of expression under Section
20 (1) of the Constitution.
not been shown that Section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act is not in contravention of Section 20 of the Constitution,”
reads part of the judgment.
judgment which will draw celebrations from journalists operating
in Zimbabwe’s tough media environment comes at a time when
Chimakure is serving a suspension from employment following the
publication in August of two stories which the AMH, the publishers
of NewsDay which Chimakure edited, said did not conform to set journalistic
ethical standards. A hearing has already been conducted where Chimakure
defended himself against the allegations.
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