Court backs Gandiya

From the Sunday Mail (Harare)

Court bars police from interfering with parishioners
By Tafadzwa Chiremba

THE High Court has granted a provisional order barring the police from interfering with activities of parishioners aligned to Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).

The court said the worshippers should be allowed to use the church’s facilities without interference from the police. It also ordered police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the co-Ministers of Home Affairs Cde Kembo Mohadi and Mr Giles Mutsekwa to stop directing the police to interfere with the parishioners.

Cde Chihuri was found in contempt of court for violating an earlier order granted by Justice Rita Makarau allowing the sharing of church properties between Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga and his rivals.

The latest ruling brings to an end fights that had been erupting between followers of Archbishop Kunonga and those of Bishop Gandiya over the use of church properties.

more here.

Of course this brings nothing to an end. One step forwards, two steps back. The law is only as effective as it is capable of enforcement - and when the police and other enforcement agencies place obedience to political masters above obedience to the courts the law is completely impotent.

The maxim that law needs force is true everywhere. Which is why the attitude of successive British Home Secretaries and Immigration Ministers to the judgements of the courts in relation to asylum is so profoundly disturbing: they have effectively subordinated the English legal system to the whim of politicians, often denying claimants justice.

Conversely force needs law for legitimacy - hence the deep betrayals of the 45-minute dossier and the Attorney General's legal opinion on the lawfulness of the Iraq war and also the suppression of enquiries into corruption in BAE systems (now, I think, being re-opened).

Zimbabwe, like so many other countries, is in the grip of a powerful faction which rules by terror in the sole interests of retaining power. But what repeatedly impresses me about Zimbabweans is their tenacious grip on the belief in the rule of law and the possibility of justice. Despite all the evidence, at the end of the newspaper report -

The Dean of the Anglican Cathedral, Rev Farai Mutamiri of the CPCA faction, said they were using the premises based on Justice Makarau’s judgment.

“We are co-sharing the premises as was granted by Justice Makarau last year. It is also mind-boggling why police would enforce a court order when it is supposed to be the messenger of court aided by the police,” said Rev Mutamiri.

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