Ruling On Mliswa’s ConCourt Referral Request Deferred

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By Mary Taruvinga

HARARE magistrate Tafadzwa Miti Wednesday postponed ruling to next Tuesday in a matter in which Norton Independent legislator Temba Mliswa is seeking referral of his case to Constitutional Court.

In postponing the matter, Miti said she was overwhelmed with many cases which was presiding over.

Mliswa applied for referral of his case to Constitutional Court some three weeks back citing abuse of his rights by the state.

The ruling was initially expected to be handed down Wednesday.

The controversial lawmaker is accused of violating the country’s Covid-19 prevention regulations after he invited some 25 journalists to cover a press briefing he held at his Borrowdale, Harare home February this year.

Last week, police Officer Commanding Harare Suburban, Tigere insisted the lawmaker indeed committed the offence as charged.

Mliswa’s lawyer Musindo Hungwe pressed the senior police officer to justify why police stormed Mliswa’s home just to arrest his client, leaving 25 journalists who were covering the ill-fated media briefing.

The lawyer contended the media conference was all in order as the journalists did not exceed the prescribed limit of 30 participants allowed at a single meeting.

Hungwe said the press briefing was also above board as Mliswa was a legislator who had a duty to disseminate information.

The lawyer said Mliswa was addressing journalists who are also essential services providers exempted by the law to practise during the lockdown period.

The police officer maintained Mliswa broke the law by gathering many people at a given time.

“It doesn’t follow that if you are an MP, you can gather as many people as you want,” Tigere said then.

Hungwe said with regards to public transportation, there was a limit to the number of people who could gather at a bus terminus but there was no prescribed limit to the number of journalists who could cover an event.