The Administrative Court once again allowed the Daily News, banned on 23 September, to resume publication but riot police prevented the paper from publishing.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the judge’s opinion was “blatantly political” and justified the police action saying the police implemented the law that the courts were only empowered to interpret.
The President of the Administrative Court Justice Selo Nare had allowed the paper to resume publishing on 19 December in line with another judgement buy his colleague Justice Michael Majuru on 30 November.
Nare said the paper should be allowed to continue publishing regardless of the appeal by the Media and Information Commission to the Supreme Court because the MIC would not suffer any potential or actual irreparable harm if leave to enforce the previous judgment was granted.
The Daily News would, on the other hand, suffer irreparable harm if it was not allow to continue publishing.
Viewing cable 03HARARE2454, GOVERNMENT SHUTTERS DAILY NEWS — AGAIN
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 002454
ECA/PE/V/F/E for RNEILSON AND ECONNOLLY
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER & D. TITLEBAUM
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT SHUTTERS DAILY NEWS — AGAIN
REF: (A) HARARE 2309 (B) HARARE 1997 and previous
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.
¶1. SUMMARY: Armed riot police prevented The Daily News
(TDN) from publishing following an administrative court
ruling December 19 permitting the paper to resume
operations. The developments confirm the government’s
intention to keep TDN closed regardless of any court rulings
– at least until the Supreme Court rules on the case next
year. END SUMMARY
¶2. The President of the Administrative Court, Justice Selo
¶M. Nare, handed down a judgment December 19 allowing
enforcement of the September 24 judgment made by
Administrative Court Justice Michael Majuru, which permitted
the TDN to publish after November 30 (reftels). Nare ruled
that the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe should be allowed
to publish notwithstanding the filing of a notice of appeal
in the Supreme Court by the Media and Information Commission
(MIC). Justice Nare found in favor for the ANZ on the basis
that the MIC would not suffer any potential or actual
irreparable harm if leave to enforce the previous judgment
were granted. Nare ruled that the ANZ stood to suffer
irreparable harm or prejudice if leave to execute pending
appeal was denied, and that the MIC appeal to the Supreme
Court was frivolous and vexatious.
¶3. By its terms, the Nare ruling allowed TDN to resume
operations even as the MIC appeal wound its way through the
Supreme Court. ANZ legal advisor Gugulethu Moyo confirmed
to the embassy December 23 that the police responded swiftly
to the judgment by going to the TDN offices on December 19
to stop TDN from publishing. Moyo told us that ANZ wrote a
letter to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Augustine Chihuri
on December 20 noting that the police were acting
unlawfully. The Commissioner has not yet responded to the
letter. Moyo does not anticipate that the Supreme Court,
which is in recess, will hear the MIC appeal until next
¶4. COMMENT: Like those before it, TDN’s latest favorable
judgment has proven a dead end. Orchestrating government
efforts to eliminate the publication once and for all is
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, whose government-
controlled press continues to cast TDN as a key pillar of
British efforts to overthrow Mugabe. Characterizing the
judge’s opinion as “blatantly political”, the American-
educated Minister publicly justified the police’s action by
ascribing to them responsibility for implementing law that
courts were only empowered “to interpret”. ANZ personnel
are increasingly despondent about the future of TDN and its
prospects of publishing in the near future. Asked about the
way forward, ANZ attorney Moyo responded only that further
legal action would be a “futile exercise” in view of the de
facto bar against publication.