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


Back to Index

Nyanga Magistrate refers Mwonzora's case to the Supreme Court as police defy court order to release COPAC vehicle
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

May 23, 2011

Nyanga Magistrate Ignatio Mhene on Monday 23 May 2011 granted an application filed by Nyanga North Member of Parliament Hon. Douglas Mwonzora and 32 Nyanga residents, seeking a referral of their matter to the Supreme Court to determine the violation of several of their constitutional rights.

Hon. Mwonzora and the Nyanga residents who were arrested in February and charged with public violence filed a constitutional challenge on 10 May 2011 arguing that their rights to liberty, protection of the law and protection from inhuman and degrading treatment as enshrined in the Constitution were violated when they were arrested, abducted and detained in filthy police and prison cells in Nyanga and Mutare respectively.

In his ruling which was delivered on Monday 23 May 2011, Magistrate Mhene upheld that the application was not frivolous or vexatious as claimed by the State prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasira, who had opposed the application filed by Mwonzora and the residents' lawyers Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and David Tandiri of Maunga, Maanda and Associates Legal Practitioners, who is a member of ZLHR.

Magistrate Mhene ruled that all the questions raised by Hon. Mwonzora and the Nyanga dwellers relating to the alleged violation of their rights enshrined in the Constitution should be referred to the Supreme Court in terms Section 24 (2) of the Constitution as requested by the applicants.

The Magistrate suspended the reporting conditions for the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) joint chairperson and the all the Nyanga residents pending the determination of their application in the Supreme Court.

Hon. Mwonzora and the other applicants had been reporting once a week to the police as part of their bail conditions.

Magistrate Mhene also ordered the police to immediately release upon sight of the court order a Mazda BT 50 vehicle which Hon. Mwonzora had been using to execute COPAC duties.

But as has become customary and in defiance of a court ruling the police refused to release the vehicle even after the lawyers had shown them the court order.

Detective Inspector Kasi, the Officer In Charge of CID Law and Order in Manicaland province, who had earlier advised Detective Inspector Mutema of Nyanga to release the vehicle reportedly made an about turn and ordered Mutema not to release the COPAC vehicle.

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.