Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Court overturns police ban on ZCTU march

By Mthulisi Mathuthu

A Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) march for workers rights, scheduled for this weekend in Harare, is to go ahead after a High Court Judge overturned a police ban on Wednesday. 

zctu-bannerDzimbabwe Chimbga from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told SW Radio Africa Thursday that Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ruled in favour of the labour union and ordered the police to escort Saturday’s proceedings throughout their duration.

In a shock u-turn, the police banned the march a fortnight ago after giving it an all clear claiming that ‘the political situation was not yet conducive for such events as unscrupulous elements might take advantage and hijack the whole programme’.

The labour union Tuesday responded with an urgent application to the High Court seeking to bar the police from interfering with the planned march.

The ZCTU argued in court that rather than ban the march the police must act on the intelligence they claim to be have and continue to ‘monitor’ the day’s activities as promised in their initial notice.

Lawyers Jeremiah Bamu, Tawanda Zhuwarara and Belinda Chinowawa argued that the police ban was a violation of the labour federation’s right to freedom of assembly and association, as enshrined in the national constitution.

The Saturday event is meant to commemorate the September 14th 2006 crackdown on a workers protest. Activities will commence with the cleaning up of streets at Copacabana in the Kopje district of Harare ending with a lunch time march to the Globe House.

Meanwhile SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that a similar march, scheduled for Friday in Bulawayo, was in jeopardy after the police failed to respond to an application for clearance, forcing the ZCTU make an urgent High Court application Thursday.

Saungweme said the application to the police about the march was made on 2nd September, but the police did not reply in time, forcing the ZCTU to go to court. Late Thursday we heard that the High Court had also approved this march. SW Radio Africa