A Marondera man, Kenias Shonhai has filed a High Court application challenging the constitutionality of Zimbabwe’s Police Act saying it is discriminatory and inconsistent with the country’s Constitution.
His bone of contention is that it discriminates against husbands of police officers by denying them access to free healthcare services, yet the same privilege is extended to spouses of male officers.
In terms of section 2 of the Police (Medical and Dental) Regulations, 1968, male spouses are not considered as dependants to enjoy free healthcare services at police facilities.
Shonhai, who is married to Constable Nyemudzai Shonhai, filed the application after he failed to benefit from the police’s health facility under the Act.
They were married in 2014.
“I approach this court as a person affected by the above omission acting in my own interests under section 85(1)(a) of the Constitution,” Shonhai submitted.
“Sometime between April and May, 2022 my three kids and I fell ill. Knowing that the police service has a functional health facility for both its members and their dependants, we visited Dombotombo Camp clinic for treatment. We were told we could not receive medical treatment because we were not dependants of Constable Shonhai.”
Shonhai, who is represented by Makwanya Legal Practice, cited Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and the Police Service Commission as respondents in his application filed on August 15.
“I subsequently looked for the regulations and discovered that she was wrong to turn away my children. I also found that the regulations are very discriminatory when it comes to a male spouse of a member,” he said
“They do not include a male spouse of a member of the police service among the dependants. They state in section 2 that dependant means the wife or child of a member.
“It denies him equal protection and benefit of the law that regulates the benefits of members. I have a right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as sex- or gender.”
He argues that the regulations discriminated against males, something which goes against the Constitution.
“Clearly this discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by sections 56 of the Constitution which says all persons are equal before the law.
“Section 56(2) says women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres,” he submitted.
“The regulations must be amended in section 2 so that its definition of a dependant is aligned with the Constitution. The court ought to declare that omission of the word husband after the word wife is inconsistent with sections 56(1), (2), (3), (4) and 5 and 80(1) and (3) of the Constitution,” he further averred, while pleading with the court to make a ruling in his favour and direct the Police Service Commission to amend the regulations.