SADC lawyers condemn bashing of Zim lawyer

The SADC Lawyers Association (SADC-LA) composed of law societies, bar associations, and individual lawyers from 15 member states in southern Africa have urged the Zimbabwean government to protect lawyers and journalists while on duty, particularly when representing or covering political assignments.

This appeal comes after Kudzai Kadzere, a Zimbabwe Lawyer for Human Rights (ZLHR) attorney was assaulted by police on Sunday while attempting to defend the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members who had been detained for conducting an unsanctioned meeting at a Member of Parliament Costa Machingauta’s house.

Kadzere had been tasked to represent the 25 CCC members but was assaulted on the job and when he tried to report the case, police charged him with escaping from police custody and causing criminal nuisance.

“SADC-LA deeply regrets and strongly condemns the attack on lawyer Kudzai Kadzere in Harare, Zimbabwe by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on January 14, 2023,” said SADC-LA Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Nyamanhindi in a statement for and on behalf of the SADC-LA Council and Executive Committee.

Nyamanhindi said on that said date, Kadzere was acting within the scope of his mandate as a licensed legal practitioner of the courts of Zimbabwe, representing his clients who are members of a political party in Zimbabwe.

“The right to legal representation is guaranteed in the constitution of Zimbabwe,” he stated but lamented the perpetration of violence by police on an unarmed civilian acting in a professional capacity to uphold the constitutional rights of other citizens.

“This presents the highest level of disregard for the rule of law.”

Nyamanhindi implored the government and the responsible Ministers to swiftly make sure there is protection of lawyers and other key stakeholders such as journalists.

“The acute escalation of violence in a period shortly preceding a crucial election for Zimbabwe warrants deep concern. SADC-LA calls on SADC and the African Union to provide swift and adequate support to the government of Zimbabwe and relevant stakeholders to make sure there is a neutral environment for enforcement and enjoyment of all human rights,” Nyamanhindi said.

Such a neutral environment will be in accordance with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections  and Governance (ACDEG), the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers as well as Zimbabwe’s own constitution, summed the SADC-LA CEO.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button