Following Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s extension of the mandatory national lockdown by two weeks, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has predictably directed all judges and magistrates to further postpone pending criminal and civil matters in the pursuit of mitigating the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the postponement, the courts will however continue to hear urgent matters and bail applications where there are constitutional rights involved.
A few hours after Mnangagwa’s Sunday announcement of a 14-day extension to the lockdown which begun on March 30, Chief Justice Malaba issued a statement cancelling all summonses and subpoenas directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between April 20 and May 30.
In a statement, Malaba said his directive will stand until the end of the national lockdown.
“All pending criminal cases originally remanded to March 30, 31, April 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14,15,16,17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29 and 30 shall be automatically rolled over to May 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, June 1, 2, 3 and 4,” he wrote.“All summonses and subpoenas issued directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between April 20 and May 3 are cancelled and shall be reissued after the expiry of the lockdown. All sales in execution are hereby stayed for the duration of the lockdown,” said Malaba.
When the coronavirus-inspired lockdown came into effect about three weeks ago, Malaba declared that all trials, non-urgent hearings and civil weddings be postponed for a minimum of two months.
Zimbabwe has three confirmed Covid-19 deaths while a total number of 25 people have tested positive for the pandemic.