Demo ban: Opposition parties unfazed

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Douglas Mwonzora

OPPOSITION parties and civil society groups have vowed to defy the latest police ban on peaceful demonstrations in Harare, saying the order violated the Constitution and, therefore, was of no legal force.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA/SILAS NKALA

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora told NewsDay yesterday that his party would disregard the prohibition order announced by the police on Monday and continue with its planned demonstrations.

The latest ban, issued by Officer Commanding Harare Central District Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, came shortly after the High Court suspended his earlier prohibition order following a court challenge by opposition parties.

“The police ban on lawful demonstrations is a gross violation of the citizens’ constitutional rights. Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe accords Zimbabweans the right to embark on peaceful demonstrations as well as to present petitions,” Mwonzora said.

“The Zanu PF regime, fronted by the panicky and paranoid dictator (President) Robert Mugabe, cannot and, indeed, will not succeed in curtailing the people’s constitutional right to demonstrate. The demonstrations will go ahead as planned.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the ban could push the nation to the brink of civil war.

“It is ill-advised because this can only lead to protesters going underground and then from there it becomes not only dangerous, but could push the nation to the brink,” he said.

Mwonzora also warned that it was now a gloves-off affair, adding opposition activists were now geared for direct confrontation with the Mugabe regime.

“There is rank madness in Zimbabwe over demonstrations. The gloves are off and the State is peeling away at the facade of democracy that it used to have. The Constitution is under attack and we won’t watch it lying down,” he said.

Human rights lawyer Dzimbabwe Chimbga said they were planning to file a High Court application challenging the constitutionality of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), which gave effect to the ban.

“The ban is quite problematic in that it was made under Posa, which is in itself a violation of the Constitution. We are working on a court application which is likely to challenge the Act from which the police are deriving their powers,” Chimbga said.

Constitutional law expert Alex Magaisa said the latest ban had exposed Zanu PF’s “arrogance”.

This came as the police in Matabeleland North yesterday lifted their ban on a Zimrights public meeting scheduled for Chodobe in Victoria Falls.

The suspension of the ban followed Bulawayo magistrate Sheunesu Matova’s ruling ordering police not to interfere with the meeting.

ZimRights lawyer Lizwe Jamela filed an urgent chamber application.

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  2. The long arm of the law will catch up with those who engage in banned demonstrations .why are individuals disguising vachiti we are fighting for human rights whilst they are pushing for regime change

    • Is this regime serving you, your family and social/financial values? Start using your brains not stomach to think! One kick to a full stomach and out comes the last food to be ingested!

    • BringBackOurFlag, where is your evidence that these people are pushing for a regime change agenda? The right to demonstrate is enshrined in our constitution. It is the banning that is illegal! Stop advertising your ignorance comrade.

    • Last kicks of Saunyama and his cronies. The courts are there for you to see between democracy and autocracy.You will never win against us in any competent court.

  3. If they do not want peaceful demos, they must enjoy violent once. There is no one who intertains what they are doing. Its time that all people go to rural areas and influence their relatives to act against the government.
    For people who intertain Mugabe, they must stop and join others for a change. All those who are getting land for stands, they must know that they are just waisting time.

  4. a regime change is the only option left for the survival of zimbabwe.the govt in power has failed for the
    past 31 yrs or so and there is no way we can expert the government to deliver all the promisses made
    during the armed struggle and thereafter.The people who can advocate for no change are the few who are beneffiting from the system and are not worried of ALL ZIMBABWEANS AT LARGE.i think we need a peaceful change in govt which will beneffit all including the current president etc.any other measures to crush protesters is a recipe for creating civil unrest.i beg you.

  5. Guys vanhu vanoita benefit ndinoziva hamuoni kutambura kunoita vamwe. Shuwa how can you have two deputy ministers in the ministry of agriculture whop each earn thousands and fire general hands (poor people) who earn$150 per month vakomana. Ava vakatofuma kare ava. There are too many MPs mhani vanoiteiko kungokotsira. Tinongonzwa Chamisa ati zvakati ko rumwe rudhende munoiteiko?

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  6. The proper way to table demonstrations is to have a series of targeted demos without attacking a party or its leader. Target a ministry. Identify unlawful acts, i.e., theft. Make a police report with cr number. If culprit is not charged then go in big numbers to that police station with no political regalia at all. Politics dzekuti mugabe must go is corrupt. Mugabe goes but all people are busy stealing. Mamisai mbavha.

  7. There is an ideology that is never going to be popular no matter what, whether it comes from the front or the back …we all know the truth and the truth shall set us free remember delay is not denial justice shall be served like it or not banning demos shall never stop the silenced voices of the oppressed from expressing themselves
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