Govt bans all demos

The government has banned all demonstrations in the Harare central business district until September 16, as it moves in to quell unrest that has been simmering in the capital for months, forcing the cancellation of today’s mega demo planned by the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera).

by Everson Mushava/Obey Manayiti

mwonzora

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said the government had issued Statutory Instrument 101a of 2016 banning all demonstrations for two weeks.

“We do not have enough time to appeal against the instrument before tomorrow, hence, we have been forced to postpone our intended demo to a later agreed date,” he said.

Mwonzora said the demonstration would now be held on September 16, after the expiry of the police order.

By late yesterday, a document, said to be the statutory instrument, was circulating on social media, although its authenticity could not be immediately verified.

A lawyer, who spoke in confidence, said the police were empowered under section 26 of the Public Order and Security Act to stop demonstrations in such a manner, as long as they had published the notice “even on a notice board”.

At least 18 opposition parties under the Nera banner had intended to take to the streets today in protest over government’s reluctance to implement electoral reforms.

Earlier, Mwonzora said the police had blocked their demonstration saying they had not been informed in time about the protest.

“Police didn’t approve our demonstration citing inadequate notice. We have rescheduled the demonstration, throughout the country to September 16. We have allowed it so that they will not have an excuse to deny us,” he said.

Nera convener and ZimPF official Didymus Mutasa had earlier vowed to continue with the demonstration on the strength of last Friday’s High Court order.

Mutasa said they would only agree to a postponement if speculative reports about President Robert Mugabe’s health turned out to be true.
In an earlier letter banning the protest march, the police officer commanding Harare Central district, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, accused Nera officials of being unco-operative and refusing to attend a security sector briefing to discuss modalities on the event.

“This office had invited you for a consultative meeting on August 30, 2016 and you did not come for reasons known to you,” he wrote.
“This office is discouraging the issue of demonstrations in the central business district considering that you did not come for the meeting, where we endeavoured to discuss modalities on how you should conduct your event.

“We, however, encourage you to send representatives to submit your petition to Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) headquarters rather than engaging in a street demonstration.”

Police efforts to block the march came after they violently crushed a protest march last month despite it being okayed by the High Court.

Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume yesterday said they were making frantic efforts to file another urgent court application to get the nod to proceed with the demonstration.

“We are co-ordinating to submit a court application. If we fail to get it to the chambers as an urgent matter, then we postpone,” he said.

People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti last night indicated he was readying a court challenge over the supposed ban of demonstrations.

19 Comments

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  2. Pastor Zvangu Zvaita

    The MDC should now give Nandos chicken that they promised the 68 arrested hooligans . Keeep your promises people .Hatichadya!

    1. yes we can. Why not.

  3. It is you the “demostrators” who abused the priviledge we gave to you by engaging in terrorist activities,now you have yourselves to blame!Looting Choppies supermarkert is a criminal activity and you will never ever demostrate again!You are lucky because we did not declare a state of emergency!

    1. Scathing Mdawini

      its a RIGHT not a privilege you mental defect!

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  5. All this madness by the police doesnt make Mugabe any younger or healthier in anyway, as long as he remains old & ill then he must resign & allow the nation to move forward, that is what the demonstrations are all about

  6. Mutoriti, It is not a “privilege” it is a constitutional right to demonstrate. If the police had not interfered with a lawful activity it would have proceeded without incident.

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    3. Pastor Zvangu Zvaita

      And you seriously believe yourself when you claim the hooligans were peaceful?

      Please send them the Nandos Chicken you promised them.

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  9. Let’s not demonstrate for now. Respect the dead. Mdhara hakuchina. We are discussing the way forward.

  10. Expressing ones views via protest or demonstration is a right enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe. This culture of selective application and choking of the constitution of Zimbabwe by Mugabe and his government needs to stop. People should just ignore this blatant abuse of power by this illegitimate and incompetent state and its institutions. Hapasisina zvekumirira!!!!!!

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  11. Grievance Mafunga

    The struggle for Zimbabwe will not be stopped or derailed by mere paper signed by Chihuri. There is hunger and poverty in Zimbabwe and we cannot stop to demand our 15 billion dollars, 2.2 million jobs, our salaries and a lot of our rightss

  12. Harare at present has 3 times the population it had 2 weeks ago because of school kids and their parents shopping plus people looking for money at the banks.if demos go ahead they will certainly go out of control and the regime knows this.After 2 weeks Harare will be quieter and the regime will certainly be able to control any demonstrators.So what shall you do NERA.

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