HARARE lawyer Tapiwanashe Mukandi has filed a High Court application challenging laws that criminalise possession, consumption and cultivation of cannabis (mbanje or dagga) in Zimbabwe.
In his application, filed on July 13, Mukandi cited ministers Constantino Chiwenga (Health and Child Care), Ziyambi Ziyambi (Justice) Kazembe Kazembe (Home Affairs) as respondents.
He is represented by Tapiwa Chivanga of Scanlen & Holderness.
In his founding affidavit, Mukandi said the existing laws were “inconsistent with the rights to privacy; equal protection and benefit of the law as well as to bodily and psychological integrity in sections 57, 56 (1) and 52 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe respectively, to the extent that they criminalise the cultivation, possession and or use of cannabis in private by an adult for his or her personal consumption.
“In essence, I am seeking a declaratory order to the effect that the challenged provisions are unconstitutional as they infringe on my aforementioned constitutional rights and the infringement is unfair, unreasonable, unnecessary and unjustifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom.”
He cited sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) as read with Section 6 of Dangerous Drugs Act, as well as section 4 of the Dangerous Drugs Regulations, among others in his application.
Zimbabwe legalised the production of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes in April 2018 through a statutory instrument.
The country became the second African nation to legalise cannabis production after Lesotho.
South Africa’s Constitutional Court then followed suit by legalising the cultivation and smoking of marijuana inside homes.