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Court grants order in favour of MISA against Econet search warrant

digital rights, Econet search warrant, Zimbabwe
24 Jul, 2020
The High Court has granted an order in favour of MISA Zimbabwe interdicting Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and other cited respondents from implementing a police warrant seeking information on the mobile phone operator’s transactions.

The High Court has granted an order in favour of MISA Zimbabwe interdicting Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and other cited respondents from implementing a police warrant seeking information on the mobile phone operator’s transactions.

High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi granted the provisional order in Harare on 24 July 2020 in favour of the applicants, MISA Zimbabwe, first applicant, and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), second applicant.

Advocate Choice Damiso, accompanied by Advocate Mapuranga, instructed by lawyer Chris Mhike of Atherstone and Cook, appeared for the applicants. Econet was cited as the fourth respondent in the application.

Read: MISA files urgent court application against Econet search warrant

The other respondents were the Minister of Home Affairs (first respondent), Police Commissioner-General (second respondent), Detective Inspector Mkhululi Nyoni (third respondent), Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (fifth respondent) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as the sixth correspondent.

However, Mhike, instructed Advocate Damiso, to withdraw the application against the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with no order as to costs.

Justice Chitapi granted the provisional order by consent in terms of which:

  • The respondents and all other persons acting through them are interdicted from implementing the directives of the Warrant of Search and Seizure (Ref WSS 3913/20).
  • Econet Wireless shall strictly maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the information that is in its custody relating to MISA Zimbabwe and ZimRights, the organisations’ members, and the organisations’ employees.

For the avoidance of doubt, Econet Wireless shall not divulge to any of the co-respondents (i.e 1st to 5th respondents):

  • Any details regarding MISA Zimbabwe and ZimRights, or these organisations’ members, or the organisations’ employees, as listed in the Warrant, or
  • Any transactional data regarding transactions carried out between Econet Wireless and MISA Zimbabwe and ZimRights, the organisations’ members, and the organisations’ employees, for the period specified in the warrant.

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

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