An application by ten opposition lawmakers from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party has been dismissed by the High Court in Zimbabwe. The lawmakers, including Tendai Biti, Charlton Hwende, and Susan Matsunga, had complained about a ban on wearing neckties in parliament imposed by Speaker Jacob Mudenda.
The court found that Mudenda had not violated the legislators’ constitutional rights and that their actions, including wearing yellow neckties as a group, had led to the ban. In his ruling, Justice David Mangota stated that “The applicants are the ones who started the whole matter when they, as a group of members of CCC, made their minds to, and did actually wear yellow neckties.” He also said that the MPs had misbehaved and acted in an “unruly” and “dishonorable” manner by “gate-crashing” into the parliament chamber.
The judge also criticized the legislators for trying to turn parliament into a political ground and for trying to fool the court by submitting an application for review under the guise of a constitutional application. He said “Parliament, as the speaker correctly asserts, is not a gathering of political parties. It is a public institution which the applicants and other Members of the House should regard as such.”
The ban on wearing neckties was imposed in April 2022 following protests by ruling party Zanu-PF legislators, who claimed that the yellow necktie was a CCC party symbol. This decision has sparked controversy and raised questions about the freedom of expression and the rights of opposition politicians in Zimbabwe.