High Court Bars Police from Interfering with Doctors’ Protest

HIGH Court Judge Justice Clement Phiri on Thursday 19 September 2019 ordered Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to stop interfering with a protest march organised by Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) to hand over a petition to legislators demanding accountability over the whereabouts of Dr Peter Magombeyi, who has been missing since last week.

ZRP officers had on Wednesday 18 September 2019 stopped members of ZHDA from marching to Parliament Building, where they intended to serve a petition to legislators demanding that Zimbabwean authorities urgently do everything to ascertain the whereabouts of Dr Magombeyi, who was abducted from his home in Budiriro high-density suburb on Saturday 14 September 2019 by some unidentified people.

But on Thursday 19 September 2019, Justice Phiri ordered ZRP not to interfere directly or indirectly, obstruct or stop the doctors’ march and to allow them to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrate by engaging in a peaceful demonstration and street march starting from 13:00 hours to 16:00 hours, from Parirenyatwa Hospital to within a radius of 20 metres from the vicinity of Parliament Building in Harare.

The Judge also directed ZRP to provide a sufficient number of police officers to keep peace while the ZHDA’s demonstration is taking place.

ZHDA resorted to filing an urgent chamber application in the High Court, wherein its lawyers argued that ZRP had no basis to interfere with the doctors’ protest as they are a professional association of medical practitioners hence they are exempted from the requirement under the Public Order and Security Act to notify ZRP of the demonstration.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights