Zvorwadza Con-Court referral bid deferred

HARARE - National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairperson Sten Zvorwadza and 13 of his members — charged following demonstrations against alleged municipal police corruption — were back in court yesterday anticipating a ruling on their application for referral of the matter to the Constitutional Court (Con-Court).

The ruling was deferred to March 20 because the State had not filed its response.

Zvorwadza and his alleged accomplices were represented by Jeremiah Bamu and Dorcas Chitiyo when they appeared before Harare magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta.

They are being charged with disorderly conduct in a public place.

Bamu and Chitiyo are challenging the constitutionality of the section under which the vendors are being charged.

They argue that “all their actions in this matter are constitutionally protected within sections 58, 59, 60 and 61 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of assembly, association and conscience”.

Prosecutor Desire Chidanire alleged that on July 16 last year, Zvorwadza was in the company of a group of vendors when they decided to demonstrate against alleged corrupt tendencies by municipal police.

The vendors were bitter that municipal cops looted their wares and shared them between themselves, and, in some instances, would demand bribes to release the goods.

It was alleged Zvorwadza and his members gathered at Town House in Harare holding placards that read: “Stop harassing women and children “Stop confiscation of our goods” and “Zvemadhisinyongoro hatichada”.

The court heard that they were dispersed by police officers.

However, the court heard when the vendors realised that police officers had left the scene they reportedly regrouped and returned to Town House led by Zvorwadza.

They reportedly demanded to see the town clerk or mayor and approached security personnel at the entrance.

Police officers returned to the scene and advised the group to leave but the vendors reportedly held their hands together tightly and police had a hard time arresting them.

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