Nera Bu­l­awayo demon­stra­tion gets go-ahead

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

THE High Court yes­ter­day gave op­po­si­tion par­ties un­der the ban­ner of the Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda (Nera) the green-light to stage an­other demon­stra­tion in Bu­l­awayo, but the or­gan­is­ers of the protests can­celled the planned events.

Shad­owy group­ings linked to the MDC-T and ZimPF have been in­volved in a num­ber of vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions re­sult­ing in de­struc­tion of prop­erty in Harare’s Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict.

The rul­ing by Bu­l­awayo High Court Jus­tice Nokuthula Moyo fol­lows an ur­gent cham­ber ap­pli­ca­tion filed by Nera chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion by po­lice to bar the planned demon­stra­tions in the city.

The judge di­rected po­lice to pro­vide se­cu­rity and nec­es­sary es­corts for the con­duct of the pro­ces­sion.

“It is or­dered that the re­spon­dents guar­an­tee that it shall take all the nec­es­sary steps rea­son­ably with its means to en­sure that all par­tic­i­pants in the demon­stra­tion con­duct them­selves in a proper and civilised man­ner so that the demon­stra­tion does not de­gen­er­ate into chaos,” ruled Jus­tice Moyo.

The as­so­ci­a­tion com­pris­ing 13 op­po­si­tion par­ties sought an or­der in­ter­dict­ing po­lice from in­ter­fer­ing with its planned protests or dis­cour­ag­ing its sup­port­ers from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the march.

Nera ar­gued that po­lice had no le­gal ba­sis to bar its sup­port­ers from stag­ing a demon­stra­tion.

In its ap­pli­ca­tion through lawyer Mr Khol­wani Ng­wenya from TJ Mab­hikwa and Part­ners, Nera cited Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ig­natius Chombo, Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Au­gus­tine Chi­huri and the Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing po­lice in Bu­l­awayo Cen­tral Dis­trict as the re­spon­dents.

The demon­stra­tors had planned to be­gin their protest from an open space be­tween Ma­sot­sha Ndlovu Av­enue and Athlone Road, Bu­l­awayo at 10AM and march through JMN Nkomo Street into Robert Mu­gabe Way and fin­ish at the City Hall.

Es­nath Bu­layani, who is Nera’s pro­vin­cial chair­man for Bu­l­awayo prov­ince, in her found­ing af­fi­davit, claimed that the protest was a le­git­i­mate way of ex­press­ing their dis­con­tent with the cur­rent state of the elec­toral land­scape.

She al­leged that the elec­toral land­scape in the coun­try was not con­ducive for the hold­ing of free and fair elec­tions.

Nera in­formed the po­lice of the planned demo but they did not sanc­tion it.

On Thurs­day, the MDC-T said Nera demon­stra­tions coun­try­wide have been post­poned to Septem­ber 16.

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

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 to pre­vent dis­or­der be­ing caused by such pro­ces­sions. They also banned the car­ry­ing of cat­a­pults and axes among other tra­di­tional weapons likely to be used to in­sti­gate vi­o­lence. Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe last week warned op­po­si­tion party lead­ers that they would not be al­lowed to in­fringe on the rights of in­no­cent cit­i­zens. The Pres­i­dent also warned em­bat­tled MDC-T leader Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai against try­ing to un­seat a con­sti­tu­tion­ally elected Gov­ern­ment through vi­o­lence. Na­tional po­lice spokesper­son Se­nior As­sis­tant Com m i s s i on e r Char­ity Charamba re­cently said the rowdy be­hav­iour ex­hib­ited by some sup­port­ers was the rea­son why some­times they were re­luc­tant to clear such gath­er­ings. — @ mash­nets

Jus­tice Nokuthula Moyo

VP Mnan­gagwa fol­lows pro­ceed­ings at the ESAAMLG con­fer­ence in Vic­to­ria Falls yes­ter­day

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