Po­lice im­pose two-week ban on demon­stra­tions in Harare

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Tendai Mu­gabe

PO­LICE have banned the hold­ing of demon­stra­tions in Harare for the next two weeks cit­ing some in­ad­e­qua­cies in Sec­tion (26) of the Public Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter 11:17) to pre­vent dis­or­der be­ing caused by such pro­ces­sions.

In a re­lated mat­ter, the po­lice also banned the car­ry­ing of cat­a­pults and axes among other tra­di­tional weapons likely to be used to in­sti­gate vi­o­lence.

This fol­lowed a num­ber of vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions by some shad­owy group­ings linked to MDC-T and ZimPF that re­sulted in de­struc­tion of prop­erty in Harare’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties trad­ing un­der the ban­ner of Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda (Nera) last week also held an­other bru­tal demon­stra­tion where po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists wan­tonly de­stroyed prop­erty while oth­ers were en­gaged in a loot­ing spree.

In Statu­tory In­stru­ment 101A known as the Public Or­der and Se­cu­rity (Temporary Pro­hi­bi­tion of the Public Demon­stra­tions in the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict of the Harare Po­lice Dis­trict) Or­der, 2016, is­sued in an Ex­tra Gov­ern­ment Gazette yes­ter­day the po­lice said: “The reg­u­lat­ing author­ity, be­liev­ing on rea­son­able grounds that pow­ers con­ferred by Sec­tion 26 of the Public Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter 11:17) will not be suf­fi­cient to pre­vent public dis­or­der be­ing oc­ca­sioned by the hold­ing of pro­ces­sions or public demon­stra­tions or any class thereof in Harare Cen­tral Po­lice Dis­trict, hereby is­sues this or­der pro­hibit­ing, for a pe­riod of two weeks from Fri­day the 2nd Septem­ber, 2016, to Fri­day, the 16th Septem­ber, 2016, the hold­ing of all public demon­stra­tions in the Harare Cen­tral Po­lice Dis­trict.

“For the avoid­ance of doubt, it is de­clared that, in terms of sec­tions 27 (5) of the Public Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter11:17), any per­son who or­gan­ises or as­sist in or­gan­is­ing or takes part in or at­tends any pro­ces­sion or public demon­stra­tion held in con­tra­ven­tion of an or­der un­der sec­tion 27 (1) of the Act shall be guilty of an of­fence and li­able to a fine not ex­ceed­ing level six or to im­pris­on­ment of a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing one year or both such fine and im­pris­on­ment.”

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Harare Dis­trict Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent New­bert Saun­yama said: “In terms of Sec­tion 14 (1) of the Public Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter11:17), I Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent New­bert Saun­yama be­ing the of­fi­cer com­mand­ing po­lice Harare Cen­tral Dis­trict and there­fore the reg­u­lat­ing author­ity of the area bounded by Rekayi Tang­wena, Coven­try Road, Rot­ten Row Road, the Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe up to the Muku­visi River, En­ter­prise Road, Churchill Road, Swan Drive, Cork Road, San­dring­ham Drive, Drum­mond Chap­lin Street and Bishop Gaul Av­enue, be­lieves on rea­son­able grounds that the car­ry­ing in public whether openly or by con­ceal­ment in public place or public thor­ough­fare or public dis­play of the fol­low­ing weapons or items ca­pa­ble of use as weapons:

(a) Cat­a­pults, ma­chetes, knobker­ries, knives, swords or dag­gers.

(b) Any tra­di­tional weapon what­so­ever is likely to oc­ca­sion public dis­or­der or a breach of the peace,

Hereby is­sue an or­der pro­hibit­ing the car­ry­ing of such weapons in the area or any part thereof for a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing three months that is from 2nd Septem­ber 2016 to 2nd De­cem­ber 2016.” axes

This pro­hi­bi­tion comes in the wake of an­other demo that was or­gan­ised by Nera to­day largely in Bu­l­awayo af­ter a dis­mal flop of a sup­posed shut down of Harare on Wed­nes­day.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, MDC-T said the demo was now go­ing to be held on 16 Septem­ber.

The party said the po­lice de­manded that all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties sig­na­tory to Nera should have given them ad­e­quate no­tice to stage the demon­stra­tions.

“As such, it has been agreed that the po­lit­i­cal par­ties will con­tinue with the demon­stra­tions on Septem­ber 16, 2016,” reads the state­ment.

“It is the con­sti­tu­tional right of all cit­i­zens of Zim­babwe to stage peace­ful demon­stra­tions.”

ZimPF of­fi­cial Mr Didy­mus Mu­tasa con­tra­dicted the MDC-T state­ment say­ing they were go­ing to meet to­day for con­sul­ta­tions.

He in­sisted that if po­lice cleared them, the demo would go ahead to­day as pre­vi­ously planned.

“We are try­ing to seek po­lice clear­ance but we will do con­sul­ta­tions to­mor­row,” he said.

On Tues­day Zanu-PF na­tional com­mis­sar Cde Saviour Ka­sukuwere who is the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Public Works and Na­tional Hous­ing Min­is­ter, told re­porters that Zanu-PF would not al­low failed politi­cians seek­ing rel­e­vance to sub­vert a con­sti­tu­tion­ally elected Gov­ern­ment.

“Any­body who thinks they can sim­ply walk in the State House through that process (vi­o­lence) will be jok­ing,” he said. “This use of vi­o­lence is un­con­sti­tu­tional and if you try to use that you are a crim­i­nal. This vi­o­lence is be­ing spon­sored by peo­ple who have no ca­pac­ity of win­ning elec­tions. They think this vi­o­lence will pro­duce a new leader of which that is very wrong.”

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