High Court Judge Justice Owen Tagu has ruled that he cannot overturn measures put by the Cabinet in curbing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
His ruling follows an application by the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (PAZ) challenging public transporters, the Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (ZUPCO)’s monopoly in the transport business.
Vice President Constantino was cited as the first respondent.
PAZ argued the imposition of national lockdown regulations that culminated in the ban on private commuter omnibuses (kombis) by the government last year, were discriminatory and unconstitutional.
However, Justice Tagu ruled the measure should remain in place. The judge said:
In my view, the restriction imposed on the applicants serves a legitimate purpose and the 1st respondent is empowered in terms of s68 of the Act to make these restrictions, and accordingly the 1st respondent should be afforded the space to put in place measures necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.
There is, therefore, no justification at this stage for this court to order the suspension of the 1st respondent’s order made in SI 83 of 2020 as this would be tantamount to prescribing to the government how it should exercise its mandate in preventing and containing Covid-19. It is ordered that; the application is dismissed.
PAZ; together with the Zimbabwe Chamber of Economy Associations (ZCIEA) and Constantine Chaza were challenging Statutory Instrument 99/2020 which they regarded as unconstitutional.
It was also their submission that the national lockdown regulations violated their members’ constitutional rights to freedom of profession, trade or occupation enshrined in section 64 of the Constitution.
The ban on kombis worsened the plight of commuters as the ZUPCO fleet is overwhelmed by demand.