Chief Justice Malaba briefing the UN Special Rapporteur said the MDC Alliance were never denied the right to demonstrate by judges. He further reiterated that those peddling that narration were just seeking to score some cheap political points. Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the opposition went to the wrong court with their appeal they should have gone to the magistrate’s court and not the high court.
The Chief Justice said:
If a police officer makes an order prohibiting a party to demonstrate in terms of a valid law and that law says you appeal to the Magistrates’ Court, that is the right provided by the law. An appeal is voluntary. We do not bind people to appeal. If you are not happy with the order restricting you when you want to march, you can simply go to the Magistrates’ Court.
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You know what they did? They went to the High Court. Surely you can see that someone could have deliberately done that to create the basis for this kind of opinionated perception.If the High Court says it does not have jurisdiction because there is no law which allows one to appeal to it, the applicant would have done harm to his or her own case,
Malaba said the media and the opposition were trying to malign the court and no one is blaming their own lawyers who were at fault in this scenario according to him.
If the High Court makes such a ruling, it has no control over the media or other channels used to now malign it.Now the picture is created that the courts are denying people the right to demonstrate. No one accepts the fault of their own lawyers or themselves because it is deliberate.
We have no means of defending ourselves and setting the record straight that the argument is all political. It is a political argument. It is not judicial. Publicity of that and how it is packaged, is all political. We don’t get involved in politics because we are not politicians
Malaba said people quickly turn opinion into facts when it comes to issues like this. His remarks came at the back of planned MDC Demos that were issues with a series of prohibition notices all over the country. A high court judge whose court the MDC appeal fell on also upheld the prohibition notice issued by the ZRP.
More: The Chronicle