CCZ 2016-14 - Majome vs ZBC

This is an application for relief made in terms ofs 85(1)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013 ("the Constitution"). The applicant is acting in her own interests although she also invokes the alleged violation of the rights of Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai ("MDC-T'), a political party of which she is a member.

The application is for an order declaring in the first part that certain provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act [Cap. 12:06] ("the Act") are invalid for alleged infringement of the applicant's fundamental right not to be compulsorily deprived of property except in terms of a law of general application complying with the requirements prescribed under s 71 (3)(b)(i) & (ii) of the Constitution. The second part of the order seeks to direct the respondents to obey their constitutional obligations to respect, protect and promote the applicant's fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in ss 56(3), 58(1) & (2), 60(1a)&(4b) and 67(1)(b)(2) of the Constitution.

The court holds that the applicant has invoked a wrong remedy for the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms she alleges have been infringed. The application has to be dismissed. The following are the reasons for the decision. The applicant is a Member of Parliament representing the Harare West Constituency on the MDC-T political party ticket. It is common cause that she premised the application and the relief sought on the allegation that the first respondent has shown bias towards the ZANU-PF political party in the selection and presentation of television and radio programmes on political matters.

It is also common cause that as a result of the alleged bias towards ZANU-PF in the broadcasting of political programmes levelled against the first respondent ("the ZBC"), the applicant has been refusing to pay the licence fee payable by every person in possession of an apparatus capable of receiving broadcasting services in terms of s388(1) of the Act.

Note by Veritas: For a related judgment please see CCZ 9/2016 - Wekare v The Attorney General available here.

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