The matter in which MISA Zimbabwe is seeking a High Court order interdicting police officers and other law enforcement agents from interfering with the work of journalists during the COVID-19 lockdown was adjourned to Monday, 20 April 2020.
This followed the commencement of the matter before High Court judge, Justice Manzunzu, in Harare on 17 April 2020. The Police Commissioner-General represented by the Attorney-General’s Office is the first respondent in the matter while the Zimbabwe Media Commission is the second respondent.
MISA Zimbabwe is the first applicant while journalist Panashe Makufa is the second applicant.
According to lawyer Chris Mhike, who is representing the applicants, The Zimbabwe Republic Police, represented by the Attorney-General’s (AG) Office, is opposing the application arguing that journalists are not defined as providers of an essential service under the COVID-19 regulations.
The Commissioner-General of Police, through the AG’s Office, contends that only journalists from the “broadcasting service and Internet” are exempted from the lockdown regulations. The Zimbabwe Media Commission did not oppose the application.
Justice Manzunzu adjourned the hearing to Monday to allow the applicants’ lawyer, Mhike, to respond to submissions by the Attorney-General’s Office.