Zimbabwe: Lawyers Sue Police Over New Stringent Covid-19 Measures

A group of lawyers has dragged the police to court over its new stringent Covid-19 control measures they announced over the last weekend.

In an urgent High Court chamber application filed Monday, the Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe (YLAZ) challenged the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s decision to force citizens to produce additional particulars before being allowed to pass through police checkpoints.

YLAZ cited Commissioner General of Police Godwin Matanga as the first respondent, Assistant Commissioner of police Paul Nyathi as second respondent and Ministry of Home Affairs as third respondent respectively.

The ZRP, the lawyers argued, acted illegally and unconstitutionally by assuming law-making powers.

“Respondents intend to use the law which they created illegally at the expense of applicants’ fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution,” the application reads.

They said the new measures infringed on applicants’ rights to an administrative action that is just, lawful, fair, and reasonable.

“Applicants stand to suffer irreparable harm if their fundamental rights are infringed as is being contemplated by the press statement. There will not be adequate compensation to the curtailment of their right to free movement, right to administrative justice, and their convenience which they are entitled to in terms of the Constitution as read with current lockdown measures.”

YLAZ said they have nowhere else to turn to for the protection of their rights and prevention of the pending harm except approaching the courts.

The applicants said they acted within 24 hours or immediately after coming across the oppressive press statements on various social media platforms.

One of the lawyers, Emma Kate Drury, in her founding affidavit, said the matter is urgent on the grounds that the respondents have acted illegally and unconstitutionally by assuming law-making powers that do not exist in terms of any law.

“Respondents intended to use law which they created illegally to stop applicants and other ordinary citizens from enjoying their rights to freedom of movement and other freedoms as provided in the Constitution,” reads the founding affidavit.

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