Makoni Trial - Constitutional Court Beckons
Harare, Zimbabwe, 08 October 2009
We were in court today with Dr Simba Makoni of the Mavambo Movement, who is being charged by the state under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) for addressing a gathering in March 2008 without police clearance.
Today we had gone to hear the Bindura Magistrate Court's decision on the challenge lodged by Makoni to the case. He is arguing that the case and his prosecution breach and violate his constitutional rights and freedoms.
He had, therefore, applied to have the case referred to the Constitutional Court. The State was opposing the application and wanted trial to start immediately.
The court, however, decided to grant the application by Makoni. This means the case now goes to the Constitutional Court (there is no dedicated Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe, as they have in South Africa. Instead, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe sits as a Constitutional Court when the need arises.
Like I said earlier, it was really going to be difficult, if not ridiculous, for the court to decide otherwise without discrediting itself and the already battered judicial system in Zimbabwe. It would have been interesting to hear the reasons for ruling that the case should proceed, as the State was insisting.
So, it is on to the Supreme Court now.
There is currently a backlog of 33 months at the Supreme Court, which means that this thing could drag on for the next two years or so and we may even get to the next election with the charges still hanging over Makoni.
I wonder if, by then, the Act under which Makoni will still be in force.
The ZANU PF thugs who reported this false case to the police did not show up for court today. I suppose they knew what humiliation was waiting for them. One of the thugs is a Councillor, I understand. The other thugs are simply office-bearers in the Ruining Party.
I was glad at least to see electricity on at Freda Rebeca Mine on the way to Bindura. This is a huge gold mine complex. Yes, I know that the electricity supply is neither reliable nor constant, but at least the mine was open, which means it can exist on a subsistence level, if nothing else.
As for the court case itself, we now wait to hear from the Supreme/Constitutional Court when exactly we can expect to appear before them for Makoni to argue his case.