17 May 2016
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Tuesday 17 May 2016 filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court over the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s interference with the staging of a protest march scheduled for Wednesday 18 May 2016 against the targeted harassment of Christians by the government through the arbitrary introduction and recital of the National Pledge.
Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, the Officer Commanding Zimbabwe Republic Police Harare Central District, had on Monday 16 May 2016 written a vague response to the notification letter submitted by Prayer Network Zimbabwe (PNZ), an interdenominational Christian organisation, on 10 May 2016, where he just indicated without elaborating that “we encourage you to comply with what we agreed upon. Any inconveniences caused are greatly regretted.”
Saunyama’s nebulous response and his unclear expression contained in his letter to PNZ prompted the PNZ represented by Sharon Hofisi of ZLHR to file an urgent chamber application seeking an order barring the ZRP from interfering with the march scheduled for Wednesday 18 March 2016 in central Harare.
In the urgent chamber application, Estery Banda, the PNZ’s organising secretary charged that Saunyama had during a meeting he convened on Friday 13 May 2016 attempted to insinuate that PNZ is not a registered Christian organisation, an allegation he dismissed arguing that the Public Order and Security Act does not require the convenor of a religious gathering to notify the ZRP of its intention to hold a march but his organisation had done so just out of courtesy and lasting recognition of the important statutory and constitutional roles that law enforcements agents play to all citizens.
Besides Saunyama, PNZ has also listed Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri as respondents.
During Wednesday’s march, PNZ says, prayers and solidarity messages will be delivered from different Pastors before handing over a petition at the offices of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
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