The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has withdrawn an urgent chamber application which it had filed at the High Court challenging the warrant of search obtained by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) with a view to searching the party’s headquarters at Harvest House in Harare.
Through its lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the Alliance had petitioned the court on Thursday, seeking to interdict the police from besieging its offices, arguing that the move by the law enforcement agents was an invasion of its constitutional right to privacy guaranteed in terms of section 57 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
However, when the matter appeared before High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore in her chambers for determination, ZLHR lawyers Moses Nkomo and Kossam Ncube indicated to the court that their client was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.
In an interview with NewsDay soon after the hearing, Nkomo said: “Our client (MDC) withdrew the matter on the basis that the warrant had already been executed and nothing was found on the premises, therefore it would not make any sense for us to challenge its legality, well knowing that what the police wanted to achieve, they had already achieved.”
In the application, the MDC had cited police Superintendent Majecha and Commissioner-General of Police, Godwin Matanga as respondents.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora had deposed an affidavit giving a chronological order of events leading to the obtaining of the challenged warrant of search.
“On August 1, 2018 members of the public engaged in mass demonstrations in the Harare CBD. Following the demonstrations, police officers under the command of the respondents (Majecha and Matanga) besieged the applicant’s (MDC) head office at Harvest House, 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Harare for reasons that are unknown to me and the party,” Mwonzora said.
“On the same day the first respondent (Majecha) applied for and obtained a search warrant in connection with the commission or suspected commission of the offences of (1) possession of dangerous weapons as defined in section 43(2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and (2) Public violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
“The search warrant authorises the first respondent and her lawful assistants to search for and seize computers, computer accessories or any subversive material, unlicensed firearm, ammunition, grenades and stones.”
Mwonzora had argued, however, that the items listed in the search warrant issued to the police had no relationship or connection whatsoever with the suspected offences and as such the said search warrant was, therefore, an invasion of his party’s constitutional right to privacy.
“The search warrant is, therefore, unreasonably vague, wide and imprecise. It is illegal. The lockdown of the premises by the police has made it difficult for the applicant to conduct its normal business operations at its offices and is unjustified,” Mwonzora had said.
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