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Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
defiance of court orders condemned
for Human Rights (ZLHR)
July 20, 2005
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.
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
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
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