Constitutional Court strikes down detention law

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by TZN Correspondent

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court’s Full Bench on Wednesday 23 September 2015 struck down Section 121 (3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) (Chapter 9:07) which prosecutors have used and abused to veto bail orders granted by judicial officers after declaring it as unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku who presided over the hearing of the matter together with eight other Judges of the Constitutional Court declared the controversial provision as unconstitutional in that it is ultra vires Section 13 (1) and section 18 (1) of the former Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku delivers the Constitutional Court ruling

Chief Justice Chidyausiku delivers the Constitutional Court ruling

The declaration came after Fanuel Kamurendo, a 44 year-old man petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking an order striking down the notorious Section 121 of the CPEA.

In his application, Kamurendo, who was represented by human rights lawyers Kudzai Kadzere and Marufu Mandevere of Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights argued that this provision is repugnant, undemocratic and open to plain abuse by prosecutors.

Kamurendo petitioned the Constitutional Court in 2014 after prosecutors invoked Section 121 of the CPEA to veto his bail when he appeared in court after being arrested and charged for contravening Section 140 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) for allegedly causing malicious damage to property. Prosecutors alleged that he damaged some ZANU PF political campaign posters.

The law was used heavily by President Robert Mugabe’s government to abuse members of the opposition.