THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • Government's defiance of court orders condemned
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    July 20, 2005

    In conceiving and carrying out the gross human rights violations dubbed Operation Murambatsina/Restore Order (now turned Operation Garikai/Hlalani Khuhle) the government of Zimbabwe relied heavily on the fact that it wanted to curb illegal activities in the urban areas. In short it sought to restore the rule of law. The manner in which the operations were conceived , were carried out and indeed continue to be carried out reflects everything else but the rule of law or the restoration of law and order. The Operations are as disorderly as they are unlawful. It is with this in mind that ZLHR is deeply disturbed at government's continued flagrant disregard of the same rule of law that Government sought to restore, ensure and fulfil. ZLHR is particularly disturbed by the Whitecliff Farm case.

    The High Court of Zimbabwe ordered the immediate ceasing of construction of houses on this farm. The said construction was purportedly being done in furtherance of Operation Gariai/Hlalani Kuhle. The illegality here was that the reconstruction was being done on private property. When the legal owner sought and indeed was allowed to stop these constructions, the Court came to his rescue with a Court Order barring the construction. Paradoxically the same government that said it was restoring order acted in flagrant disregard of a Court Order by continuing with the construction of housing units on this private property . It went further to purport to file opposing papers against the Provisional Order that was granted in favour of the legal owner of the land upon which Whitecliff is situated. This construction continues to date despite the fact that the Provisional Order so sought and obtained is still operational and has not been discharged. In essence therefore government continues to act in unashamed and arrogant contempt of a Court of law.

    This is not the first time the government has so patently defied Court Orders. ZLHR has highlighted this on a number of occasions, and this is what makes the practice even more disturbing . Just recently the government has been brought before the courts facing charges of contempt for this kind of conduct. ZLHR therefore finds the government's intransigence most worrying and having the effect of bringing the administration of justice in Zimbabwe into disrepute.

    ZLHR therefore again calls upon the government to inter alia:

    • Respect and enforce court orders
    • Desist from further bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.
    • Remedy its contempt forthwith

    ZLHR further implores the Judiciary to condemn this disregard of Judicial authority orchestrated by Government. The Judiciary is called upon to stamp its lawful and constitutional authority as provided for by the laws of the land to ensure that its lawful orders are obeyed by all. ZLHR is particularly concerned at the Judiciary's deafening silence in such times when its authority is daily undermined by the Executive arms of the State. The rule of law admits of no exception; not even Government!

    Visit the ZLHR fact sheet

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.