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National pledge reciting out of order, says ConCourt

by Staff reporter
29 Dec 2020 at 07:10hrs | Views
THE Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe (ConCourt) yesterday ruled the national pledge, which schoolchildren were obliged to recite during assemblies, invalid.

This came after a parent, Mathew Sogolani, who doesn't want his children to recite the national pledge at school as directed by the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, filed an application challenging the directive.

"The application be and is hereby granted with no order as to costs. It is declared that the policy requiring all schoolchildren to recite the national pledge is constitutionally invalid as it violates the applicant's children and other schoolchildren's right to freedom of conscience in terms of section 60 of the Constitution and violates the applicant's parental rights in terms of section 60 (3) of the Constitution.

"As a result of the declaration in paragraph above, the education authorities can formulate a pledge in which schoolchildren can conscientiously object to the salutation of ‘Almight God' or salutation of the national flag," read the judgment.

In 2016, Sogolani challenged the government's move to force all schoolchildren to recite a national pledge which he alleged violated children's rights.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the contentious national pledge was introduced by the government in May 2016 to be recited by all pupils enrolled in Zimbabwean primary and secondary schools.

Sogolani challenged the constitutionality of the recitation of the national pledge arguing that it violated his children and his constitutional rights.

In his application filed by David Hofisi, who was a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights then, Sogolani, whose three minor children were enrolled in infant, primary and secondary schools argued that forcing children to recite the pledge was contrary to his family's religious beliefs.

Sogolani, a member of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) church, wanted the Constitutional Court to suspend the requirement that schoolchildren recite the pledge, which has now been ruled unconstitutional.

Source - newsday

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