Curfew times challenged
A RUWA man Ronald Magweta and Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (Walpe) have approached the High Court seeking an extension of the starting time of the curfew to 8pm.
This comes after the government imposed a 12-hour dusk-to-dawn curfew which begins at 6pm ending at 6 am the following day.
Magweta and Walpe cited Health minister and vice president Constantino Chiwenga, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, and police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga as respondents in the application.
They want Chiwenga directed to consider extending the time for commencement of the curfew to 8pm and for law enforcement agents to ensure social distancing and compliance with lockdown measures for all arrested persons.
Magweta and Walpe also want a press statement issued by the police declaring the curfew to be ruled out as being ultra vires the Constitution.
“The curfew is unreasonable because there is an acute shortage of transport in Zimbabwe. It is common cause that the only public transport operator is allowed to operate in Zimbabwe at the moment is the State-owned Zupco buses or independent public vehicles operating under the Zupco licences,” Magweta said in his affidavit.
“The situation is exacerbated by the fact that while businesses close at 3pm, there is only a three-hour gap to allow commuters to get home. Given the distance between Harare and Ruwa, by the time it gets to 6pm the Zupco buses may only be able to make a couple of trips and this leaves me and many others stranded in town.”
Magweta claims that on July 23 he was forced into a Chitungwiza bus by police officers who were shouting they no longer wanted people in town and witnessed members of the public being assaulted.
The court heard Magweta had to be dropped along Seke Road and had to call for assistance to go to his home in Ruwa
“Those who failed to disperse on time were bundled into a police truck which further exposes the public to the deadly coronavirus,” Magweta said.
“In light of the attendant transport situation where the public has no alternative transport other than Zupco, the time given for the curfew imposed or at the very least the manner in which it is being enforced is unreasonable and irrational.
“An extension to 8pm would at least allow time for the public to get on the limited transport available.”