High Court Sets Aside Govt Decision To Suspend Masvingo NGO

The High Court on Wednesday set aside Government’s decision to suspend Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD), an independent youth-oriented non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Masvingo.

Masvingo district administrator (DA), Roy Hove, suspended COTRAD on the basis it was allegedly operating illegally. Following their suspension, COTRAD through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on Thursday 14 March 2019 filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court challenging the district administrator’s decision to suspend the operations of the organization in the district pending investigation on the registration and approval issues by the District Administrator’s office. Masvingo District Administrator was cited as first respondent, while Local Government Minister July Moyo is the second respondent.

Justice Loice Matanda Moyo ruled the DA’s decision null and void and of no force and effect as he not empowered by any law to suspend or stop such operations. Accordingly the Honorable Mrs Justice Matanda-Moyo granted the following order:

1. The 1st Respondent’s decision to suspend the 1st Applicant’s operations is set aside and declared to be null and void and accordingly of no force and effect whatsoever;

2. The 1st Applicant is not a private voluntary organization as contemplated in terms of the Private Voluntary Organizations Act;

3. The 1st Respondent is not empowered by any law to suspend or stop the operations of the 1st Applicant; and

4. The 1st Respondent is ordered to pay the costs of this application on a legal Practitioner and Client scale.

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