Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the co-Minister of the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation, was on Tuesday barred by police from addressing a national healing meeting at Kezi business centre.
Three police officers stormed the meeting just before the minister’s address and ordered the villagers to disperse, saying they had received instruction from their superiors at Gwanda Police Station to call off the meeting.
NewsDay witnessed the incident.
Contacted for comment, the acting police spokesperson for Matabeleland South, who only identified himself as Sergeant Mkhwananzi, said:
“The National Healing Organ is comprised of three parties yet at the scene there was only one party. It was therefore not guaranteed that the meeting was indeed a national meeting and we decided we could not let it proceed.
“The meeting may very well have been conducted for personal reasons under the pretext of the organ. The other two parties may not even have been aware of the meeting.”
The meeting had been organised by a Bulawayo-based pressure group, Habakkuk Trust.
Mzila-Ndlovu said he would file an immediate complaint to government and find out how and why a state-officiated meeting could be disrupted and banned.
The chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust, Dumisani Nkomo, said his team would not be discouraged by the ban.
“This definitely does not mark the end of our efforts. This is just the beginning,” he said.
“I even told them (the police) that this meeting is non-political and there is no reasoning behind banning a talk that is pro-peace. But it seems apparent now that the problem must be coming from someone who does not want to see peace prevailing in the country,” Nkomo said.
The secretary for Ibhetshu Likazulu, Mbuso Fuzwayo, who was part of the group, said he was upset by the interference by police officers.
“This is a most unfortunate and unjustified incident. What is the point of the National Healing Organ if it is not permitted for them to even hold talks with the people?” he said.