WOMEN take to the streets of Bulawayo today in a #BeatThePots campaign to protest mass hunger in the country after the High Court yesterday reversed an earlier police ban on the demonstration citing security concerns.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The women’s-only protest, to be led by MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe, is aimed at piling pressure on President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu PF government to address the socio-economic crisis facing Zimbabweans.
High Court judge Nicholas Mathonsi okayed the demonstration, arguing the police had no right to ban the march — in line with the Constitution.
“I would like to thank the courts, in particular, the honourable judge, for upholding the Constitution, specifically Section 59, which allows citizens to demonstrate,” Khuphe said yesterday..
“The judge saw reason that women have every right to demonstrate and granted us permission to march and even ordered the police to make sure they provide escort.
“This is a women’s demonstration and as you know, women are naturally very peaceful and the march tomorrow (today) will be peaceful.”
The MDC-T, through its lawyer Kholwani Ngwenya, filed an urgent High Court application seeking an order barring the police from stopping the march.
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The application cited officer commanding Bulawayo central district, Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Mutamba, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo as respondents.
“The #BeatThePots campaign is definitely on tomorrow (today) to allow the women to express their concerns about the hunger affecting millions,” Ngwenya said.
“The argument by the police to ban the march was that they were not given adequate time to prepare, but the judge said the Constitution supercedes the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) on which the police were basing their argument.”
Posa says Zimbabweans must seek police authority to demonstrate.
The Constitution, however, argues every Zimbabwean has a democratic right to demonstrate.
Mugabe has faced demonstrations to relinquish power over mass poverty and hunger, but Zanu PF has vowed the 92-year-old leader is not going anywhere.