GALZ Update On The Magistrates Court Ruling

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GALZ welcomes the court ruling delivered today by Magistrate Don Ndirowei with respect to a charge of contravening Section 6 (1) (3) of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act Chapter 17:05. This is yet another legal victory that vindicates GALZ work of representing and protecting the rights and interests of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and Intersex people in Zimbabwe.

The State had alleged that Martha Tholanah, GALZ Chairperson though with the knowledge that GALZ was not registered “unlawfully took part in the management of the organisation by gathering its members and continued to carry out activities while engaging in gays and lesbians activities” in contravention of the PVO Act.

In his ruling today, Magistrate Don Ndirowei noted that the High Court order issued to GALZ was still in force since the state had not appealed or applied for a recession of the Order therefore its was binding on the State, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Police and the Magistrate’s court.

He noted that paragraph four of the High Court Order held that GALZ was not obliged to be registered in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act (chapter 17:05) as it was not a Private voluntary organisation and specifically exempted by operation of section 2 (h)(v) of the same act.

Magistrate Ndirowei ruled that the facts as alleged by the State did not disclose an offence and that the charge was bad at law in light of the order and that the State could not proceed to prosecute GALZ therefore he granted the exception and quashed the charge.

Charges of running an unregistered organisation were preferred against Tholanah in August 2012 after police raided and conducted a search at the GALZ offices in Harare.