Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
SOME rogue war veterans’ crunch meeting to deliberate on a wide range of issues will go ahead on March 23 as planned, after the High Court interdicted the law enforcement agents from interfering with the former liberation war fighters’ business.
The freedom fighters had rescheduled their crunch meeting to yesterday from last week, but police refused to clear their meeting.
Through their lawyer, Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, instructed by Mr Harrison Nkomo of Mhishi Nkomo Legal practitioners, the liberation struggle war veterans successfully applied for an interdict against the police.
Justice Alfas Chitakunye allowed the war veterans to proceed with their meeting on Thursday next week, without impediment.
“The meeting that the Applicant (Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association) intends to hold on the 23rd of March 2017 from 10am to 3pm at City Sports Centre, shall proceed as notified,” said Justice Chitakunye.
“That the Applicant ensures that at the meeting there will be no procession, marching or toyi-toying. The first respondent (police Superintendent Trustworthy Makunike) and the police force be and are hereby ordered to refrain from disrupting the meeting referred to…above.”
Adv Zhuwarara told Justice Chitakunye that the war veterans association notified Supt Makunike of its intention to hold its national general meeting.
Despite the association satisfying the requirements of section 25 (2) of Public Order and Security Act and despite seemingly progressive discussions between the parties, the lawyer argued that the regulating authority continued in bad faith.
He accused the police of raising unnecessary technicalities and advised his clients that if they proceeded with the meeting it would be unlawful.
“The first respondent alleges that the notice does not state the purposes of the gathering and that it does not comply with Section 26 (3) despite both being apparent in the notice and having addressed fully in the meeting held on March 14,” he said.
Supt Makunike, he said, communicated that position to his client by way of a letter dated March 15, prompting the urgent application.
The police, represented by Mr Joseph Mumbengegwi, argued that the war veterans should have exhausted internal remedies before approaching the higher court.
“The regulating authority implored the convener to explore other options relating to the venue, which is a public place accessible by members of the public, to curb possibility of high-jacking and attack by other factions of the war veterans group,” he said.
Mr Mumbengegwi said the war veterans’ fresh notice was defective for non compliance with section 25 (2) (c) of the enabling Act.
“It failed to disclose purpose of gathering,” he said. “That element is not denied, but admitted by applicant.”
Mr Mumbengegwi argued that the regulating authority was empowered by the enabling Act to advise the convener of a threat if information was received of chances of public disorder.
Last year, police teargased war veterans after they tried to convene a similar meeting at the same venue.