CIVIL society groups and musicians have threatened to fight Harare City Council’s recent decision to ban public performances at Harare Gardens, saying the move infringed on their rights to access public places.
Human rights lobby group, Zimrights, was last weekend forced to hold its Soap and Shirt Donation Winter Festival at Belgravia Sports Club after it was barred from using Harare Gardens.
In a letter dated June 13 2014 Ref: CA/11/1 signed by a Mr Bhebhe in the Housing and Community Services department, council said: “Harare Gardens was banned for live shows because of noise levels affecting the surrounding facilities. Could you, therefore, choose an alternative venue that includes City Sports Centre, Gwanzura Stadium or Zimbabwe Grounds.”
City spokesperson Lesslie Gwindi said council took the position after management at the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel complained that the noise levels from public shows held in Harare Gardens were disturbing their clients.
“The problem has been going on for the last three years.
“Yes, it is a public place that should cater for everyone, but some people are not considerate when using the facilities as they make a lot of noise right into the night and sometimes into the early hours disturbing the environment hence the ban,” Gwindi said.
“I’m sure we will find an amicable solution with all stakeholders.”
But Zimrights director Okay Machisa described the move as segregatory and challenged the hotel management to install soundproof gadgets at the building.
“A hotel cannot complain of noise. It is high time Crowne Plaza Hotel should be putting soundproof mechanisms to their rooms as is the norm,” Machisa said.
“They are not more equal than other stakeholders.”
Gospel musician Sebastan Magacha told NewsDay yesterday that he was planning to meet council officials today to plead with them to reverse the ban.
Several gospel musicians regularly use Harare Gardens for their family day shows.