- CONSTANTINE MUNYARADZI CHIMAKURE (2) VINCENT KAHIYA (3) ZIMIND PUBLISHERS (PVT) LTD
THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF ZIMBABWE
SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
CHIDYAUSIKU CJ, MALABA DCJ,
ZIYAMBI JA, GARWE JA & CHEDA AJA
HARARE, JUNE 3, 2010 & OCTOBER 30, 2013
I Chagonda, for the applicants
T B Zvekare, for the respondent
MALABA DCJ: This is a referral for determination of a question of validity of statutory provisions for the restriction of the exercise of freedom of expression brought to the Supreme Court in terms of s 24(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (“the Constitution”). The question is whether or not s 31(a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Cap. 9:23) (“the Criminal Code”) contravenes the declaration of the fundamental right to freedom of expression under s 20(1) of the Constitution. The section prohibits under threat of punishment the publication or communication to any other person of a false statement with the intention or realising that there is a real risk or possibility of undermining public confidence in the law enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe.
The relief sought is a declaration to the effect that the section is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
The Court apologises for the delay in giving judgment in this case. The delay has been caused by the fact that reasons for judgment in the case of Jestina Mukoko v The Attorney-General SC-11-12 had to be given first. The facts of that case had a direct bearing on the circumstances in which the statements forming the subject matter of the charges which gave rise to the Constitutional questions for determination in this case were published. The determination of the issues raised in the case of Mukoko v The Attorney-General required time for research and reflection on the interpretation and application of the relevant law.