By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
7 August 2014
Disgruntled workers of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) have won a legal battle against the police, who last week barred them from taking to the streets to protest against their employer.
NRZ employees have not been paid their wages for the past 10 months. The workers are owed $55 million in salary arrears. Last week they resolved to stage demonstrations but were stopped by the police and they filed a petition with the High court challenging that order.
On Wednesday High court judge Justice Charles Hungwe ruled that the police have no power to ban demonstrations by trade unions. The judge ordered that the workers should be allowed to proceed with their demonstrations without the interference of the police.
Representing the state, lawyer Joseph Mumbengegwi had insisted that the order should say that the workers must first notify the police before proceeding with the demonstrations; arguing that the police were mandated with maintaining peace in the country. He said they can only do so if they were notified in advance of forthcoming events.
But defence lawyer Jeremiah Bamu said that notifying the police would be outside the dictates of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Our Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel Saungweme said union members of the NRZ are already planning their next protests which would be held in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare.