INFORMAL traders under the banner of Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organisation (Ziso) on Friday filed an urgent High Court application seeking to interdict government from using the military in a planned street clean-up exercise.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Through its lawyer Chris Mhike, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Ziso said government needed to follow the law.
“Essentially, we are seeking the court’s intervention to ensure that the forthcoming clean-up exercise respects the tenants of due process. We are particularly concerned with the fact that government intends to deploy military personnel in execution of the plan under circumstances that do not justify the use of the army,” Mhike said.
Quizzed on why the traders could sue government for planning to use the army when Defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi has already made pronouncements to the contrary, Mhike said: “The problem is that when the informal traders approached government through their legal representatives, there was no formal response to the correspondence.”
He said his clients were seeking an interdict “to make sure when the process is conducted it is in accordance with the law”.
“The matter is now pending before the High Court and the full argument on the case will be fully ventilated at court. There is no date set for the hearing but we are in communication with the Attorney General’s office with a view to having the matter resolved at court with as little acrimony as possible,” Mhike said.
Government last week issued a seven-day ultimatum to vendors to vacate from undesignated sites threatening to use the army to drive them out. The deadline has since been extended to June 26 and the army has since backed off from participating in the crackdown.