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Lawyer in court bid to stop pro-ED constitutional amendment hearings over covid-19

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By Mary Taruvinga

HARARE based lawyer, Sikhumbuzo Mpofu has approached the High Court seeking suspension of public hearings for the amendment of the country’s Constitution arguing that he feared contracting the virus if he were to attend.

Mpofu said he was an interested party and could not afford to miss the proceedings as much as he could not stand being in a public gathering until the virus, which is yet to be confirmed in Zimbabwe, is contained.

He submitted that the postponement will not benefit him only but Zimbabweans at large.

“Applicant is a citizen of Zimbabwe and practises the profession of a legal practitioner in the Forum.

“He has an interest in the process and results of the public hearings for the amendment of the constitution.

“He has a right to be protected from conduct which endangers his health,” reads part of his urgent chamber application filed by his lawyers.

Further reads the application, “Applicant is interested in taking part in the public hearings due to commence on the 29th of March 2020 for the amendment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“He will fail to attend or if he attends, his life would be in danger as he can contract the coronavirus.

“To solve applicant and the nation at large amidst the absence of adequate medical facilities and a dying economy, social distancing has been employed to alleviate and reduce viral spread. The public hearings, are, accordingly a threat to life.”

Mpofu told court that the country’s health system is dead adding that hospitals have no resources and are incapacitated and, as such prevention was the best solution.

“The actions of the respondents in moving for the public hearing are with respect reckless and inconsiderate.

Cited as respondents in his application are the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the clerk of parliament, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Health minister Obadiah Moyo.

The case is yet to be heard.

However, as if to pre-empt the lawyer’s application, National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda Wednesday suspended all forms of parliamentary business until 5 May this year citing the coronavirus scare and these include public hearings.