Zimbabwe: Court Clears Operations Hakudzokwi Commemorations

Financial Gazette Harare
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

THE Magistrates’ Court in Mutare has ordered the police not to interfere with a meeting being organised by members of the Marange community to commemorate the victims of a scramble for diamonds in Chiadzwa.

The order follows an attempt by the Zimbabwe Republic Police to stop the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) from holding the commemorations to remember the victims of a brutal 2008 joint police and military operation to clear the Chiadzwa diamond fields of illegal miners.

The operation, which was code-named « Operation Hakudzokwi », culminated in unprecedented numbers of deaths and other gross human rights abuses in Chiadzwa and surrounding areas.

Last week, CCDT notified police at Bambazonke Business Centre located in the area of the planned meeting, but police indicated that they would not allow it to take place, citing some provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, CCDT applied to the court in Mutare for an order barring the police from stopping the commemorations.

The court ruled that there was no basis for the police to ban the meeting from taking place and also noted that the provisions of POSA that apply to political meetings could not be invoked on a civil gathering.

« It is declared that the actions of the responsible authority do not depict any cogent grounds and therefore unlawfully prohibited the meeting planned by the applicant on November 1, 2016, » read an order gleaned by the Financial Gazette.

« It is ordered that the applicant goes ahead with the meeting as scheduled and promote its right to freedom of association and assembly as set out in Section 58 of the Constitution and the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section 61 of the Constitution, » added the court order.

The application cited the member-in-charge of Bambazonke Police Station, the commissioner general of police and the Minister of Home Affairs as respondents.

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