Zimbabwe: Head of gay rights group faces court over accusations of unregistered operation

The chair of gay rights group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, faced court on Monday as the organisation is accused of failing to register itself.

Martha Tholanah, also a co-director of GALZ, was accused of operating the organisation without registering it under the Private and Voluntary Organisations Act.

She appeared before magistrate Donald Ndirowei, and was represented by lawyer Tonderai Bhatsara.

The trial did no proceed, however, as Mr Bhatsara filed to have the charges thrown out.

He said that even if proven true, the charge does not disclose an offence, and that the High Court had already ruled in the case, that GALZ did not need to register under the PVO Act.

The High Court ruling stated that the organisation is specifically exempt from the law.

“This order has not been set aside by any competent law neither had it been appealed against. Therefore the current charge becomes bad in law. I pray that the charges be quashed and accused acquitted,” he said.

Originally police officers had searched the premises of GALZ, removing laptops, pamphlets and DVDs, on a tip-off that the organisation was conducting illegal activities.

Tholanah entered a not-guilty plea on Monday.

The trial has been postponed until 26 February.

by Joseph Patrick McCormick
Source – PinkNews