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Govt Defies High Court Order On Unvaccinated Congregants

Government has maintained that unvaccinated congregants will not be allowed to attend church services despite an interim High Court order against the policy position.

Speaking during yesterday’s post Cabinet press briefing, Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said Government had reviewed upwards the number of congregants attending services to 50%.

“Cabinet discussed the request by churches for a review of number of congregants allowed in church services to at least a third, taking into account the size of the church. Whilst all other gatherings shall not exceed 100 persons, with regards to churches, Cabinet has resolved that only vaccinated congregants can attend and should be limited to 50% of the holding capacity of the Church,” said Mutsvangwa.

Human rights lawyer Obert Kondongwe had through the High Court challenged a cabinet decision recently barring unvaccinated people from attending church services arguing it had no legal standing.

“The statement issued by the Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on the 11th of August on behalf of government following a Cabinet meeting on the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination of sit-in congregants in churches and barring unvaccinated sit-in congregants from churches is null and void to the extent that infringes constitutional rights and freedoms set out in the declaration of rights under sections 51, 52, 58 and 60,” Kondongwe argued.

In response, the interim High Court order, ruled that unvaccinated congregants should be granted permission to attend church services.

“The statement issued by Mutsvangwa on behalf of the Cabinet barring unvaccinated sit-in congregants in churches be suspended pending the return date of this application.

“Further, and as attached to the foregoing, the conduct of Kazembe in enforcing the statement by Cabinet and conducting arrests and criminal proceedings against unvaccinated sit-in church congregants be suspended pending the return date of this application.” read the ruling.

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