FreeZim wins t-shirts wrangle with ZRP

FreeZim wins t-shirts wrangle with ZRP
Published: 19 June 2018 (318 Views)
THE High Court has ordered Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to immediately release 50 000 campaign T-shirts which were seized from an opposition political party by police at Beitbridge Border Post.

The police seized the T-shirts, belonging to FreeZim Congress, saying they had been smuggled from South Africa, a claim the court dismissed.

The party is contesting in the July 30 harmonised elections and its leader Mr Joseph Busha is one of the 23 people who successfully filed nomination papers to contest as presidential candidates.

The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo followed an urgent chamber application by FreeZim Congress challenging the decision by the police from the Law and Order Section in Beitbridge to seize the T-shirts.

FreeZim Congress, through its lawyers Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners, sought an order directing police to release their T-shirts, which were seized on April 30.

In papers before the court, FreeZim Congress cited Comm-Gen Matanga and the officer-in-charge of ZRP Law and Order Section in Beitbridge, Detective Inspector Moses Boora, as respondents.

Justice Moyo said FreeZim Congress established a prima facie right that there was no solid fact upon which a suspicion that an offence of smuggling was committed.

"I hold the view that facts that formulate the basis for a reasonable suspicion are not there. In policing the police are encouraged to act fairly and reasonably, not arbitrarily so that civil liberties are not unnecessarily curtailed. Again, the prosecution declined to prosecute as they are the ones who appreciate the essential elements of the offence of smuggling," said Justice Moyo.

"It also appears Zimra also did not buy the first respondent (Det Insp Boora's) story as clearly there is absolutely no reason to believe that an offence of smuggling has been committed."

The judge ruled that the seizure of the T-shirts was unjustified and unlawful.

"First respondent thus unfairly and arbitrarily, with no justification whatsoever, seized applicant's T-shirts and that is an injury to FreeZim Congress. The balance of convenience favours that the application be granted seeing that there seems to be no justification at law for the continued holding of applicant's T-shirts," ruled Justice Moyo.

In his founding affidavit, FreeZim Congress' monitoring and evaluation officer, Mr Jonathan Jere, said the truck which was carrying their T-shirts was intercepted by police along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo road.

"The driver of the truck, Mr Evans Singo, was stopped by the police and when they discovered that he was carrying 50 000 T-shirts, they ordered the truck to be driven back to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) warehouse where it was impounded pending investigations," he said.

Mr Jere said as a result of the seizure of the T-shirts, Mr Busha – who is based in South Africa – was forced to delay the launch of the campaign in Beitbridge.

- chronicle

Tags: Busha, FreeZim, ZRP,
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