MDC-T challenges Lupane rally ban

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Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo

THE MDC-T has filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging the police for banning its rally scheduled for tomorrow in Lupane.

BY SILAS NKALA

Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo
Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo

The party cited the officer commanding Lupane district as the first respondent, Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, as second and third respondents, respectively.

“The first respondent has sought to bar the applicant’s planned political public meeting to be held on November 27 and it, thus, reasonably conceived that the first respondent may unleash members of the police force to disrupt and disturb the meeting, yet the applicant would be exercising its constitutionally enshrined right to freedom of assembly and association,” the application read.

“More so, first respondent has not advanced any reasons or legal basis to suggest that he has powers to bar applicant from freely assembling and associating.”

The party said it had already committed its time and resources to the event, hence, aborting it would be costly to it.

It further stated that due to the closeness of the day of the planned meeting, it would be reasonable for the court to deal with the matter on an urgent basis.

MDC-T submitted that the police had no legal basis to bar it from holding the rally and the cops would not suffer any prejudice if the rally proceeded, hence, the party prayed for an interim relief to continue with the rally.

In his founding affidavit, Matabeleland North MDC-T chairman, Thembinkosi Sibindi submitted that on November 19 this year, through the party’s provincial organising secretary, Noah Khumalo, the party notified the police about the rally.

“On November 22, I received a call from the first respondent’s office informing me that the applicant’s response was ready for collection. I proceeded to the first respondent’s office, where I was served with the copy.

“The first respondent stated that the applicant should reschedule the planned meeting because ZRP Lupane district is overwhelmed with operations, which kick off on November 23,” Sibindi’s affidavit read.

“It is apparent that the first respondent’s response has the effect of barring applicant’s political meeting in that it seeks to compel the applicant to reschedule the meeting.

“In purporting to disallow the political meeting, the first respondent seemingly suffers from the misconception that the Public Order and Security Act clothes him with such powers. First respondent could be sincere in holding this view, only that he is sincerely wrong as the Act simply requires one to give notice of a public meeting in writing, which is precisely what the applicant did.”

The police were yesterday yet to respond to the application.