Zimbabwe: Police Sued for Tightening Lockdown Measures

A Harare woman has approached the High Court seeking an order to set aside increased demands by police officers enforcing the country’s Covid-19 lockdown measures at check points.

In her court challenge, Nontokozo Tachiona argues the demands by ZRP were unconstitutional.

Government last week imposed new lockdown measures to try and contain the raging spread of coronavirus.

Police of Saturday responded through listing of more requirements for essential services with each category having specific ones in line with Covid-19 regulations.

Previously, ordinary citizens were asked to produce exemption letters and identity cards from their employers.

However, police now demand more documents for one to move around.

In Tachiona’s court challenge, Commissioner General Police Godwin Matanga, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi and Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe are listed as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents respectively.

“The ZRP press statement of 25 July 2020 be and is hereby declared to be ultra vires Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 as amended by Statutory Instrument 174 of 2020,” reads the court papers.

“The ZRP press statement of 25 July 2020 be and is hereby declared to be unlawful and consequently of no force or effect.”

She wants the police to pay the cost of suit.

Over the weekend, ZRP imposed more strict lockdown measures as the number of Covid-19 infections in the country continued to surge towards 3 000.

For the health sector, according to police, members will now have to put on their uniforms while those in civilian attire will have to produce letters from a medical superintendent or CEO stating the place and dates and time of reporting on and off duty plus the contact details of the CEO.

“Food retailers will have to produce certified photocopies of shop licences and an exemption letter from local Officer in Charge,” said Nyathi.

This would also apply to sole traders.

For medical resupplies, one will have to produce a medical card or prescription and contact details of their doctors where possible.

For funerals, concerned relatives are now supposed to produce a burial order copy to local police officer in charge of a police station.

Nyathi said this was meant to curb the spike in the pandemic, which has claimed nearly three dozen lives to date.

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