High Court judge president, George Chiweshe, a well known Mugabe apologist, on Monday postponed to 27 September the hearing of two urgent chamber applications seeking to reverse a recent police ban on protests.
President Robert Mugabe has blasted judges for ruling in favour of protesters seeking clearance from the courts after being denied their constitutional right to demonstrate by the police. The selection of Justice Chiweshe to rule on the matter will raise eyebrows.
The two matters were filed as urgent applications last Friday by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) legal team of lawyers Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga.
Their clients are Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, a church, the Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE), National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Sten Zvorwadza, an activist.
Chiweshe said the case required filing of heads of argument and canvassing of issues before the hearing, directing that the applicants’ heads of argument must be submitted on 21 September.
He added that the respondents’ heads of argument must be submitted on 23 September 2016 while oral hearing will be on four days later and judgment on 30 September.
The applicants are arguing that the ban which was issued through Government Notice No. 239 A of 2016 must be set aside because it violates Section 59 of the constitution that gives citizens the right to demonstrate peacefully.
This application comes after another judge, Priscilla Chigumba on 7 September
2016 declared as unconstitutional, Statutory Instrument 101A of 2016 gazetted at the beginning of the month and banning protests in Harare for a period of two weeks.
The latest ban also bars demonstrations in central Harare till 16 October.
Despite the ban, hundreds of Zimbabweans on Saturday demonstrated in suburban areas in many parts of the country, pushing for substantive electoral reforms.