New demo ban gazetted

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Lloyd Gumbo Harare Bureau

PO­LICE have gazetted a new ban on protests, start­ing yes­ter­day to Oc­to­ber 15 in com­pli­ance with High Court Judge, Jus­tice Priscilla Chigumba’s rul­ing that they must first no­tify all stake­hold­ers if they in­tend to ban demon­stra­tions and pro­ces­sions in Harare.

Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing Harare Cen­tral Dis­trict Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent New­bert Saun­yama, who is the reg­u­lat­ing au­thor­ity in the dis­trict, an­nounced the new ban in an ex­tra­or­di­nary Gov­ern­ment gazette yes­ter­day where he also is­sued a no­tice of the ban ef­fec­tive from yes­ter­day.

Chief Supt Saun­yama cited the in­ad­e­qua­cies in Sec­tion (26) of the Pub­lic Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter 11:17) to pre­vent dis­or­der be­ing caused by such pro­ces­sions.

Chief Supt Saun­yama yes­ter­day said the pro­posed pro­hi­bi­tion or­der was pro­vided for by the law.

“The reg­u­lat­ing au­thor­ity, be­liev­ing on rea­son­able grounds that the 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 the Harare Cen­tral Po­lice Dis­trict, hereby is­sues this or­der pro­hibit­ing, for a pe­riod of one month from Fri­day, the 16th Septem­ber, 2016, to Satur­day, the 15th Oc­to­ber, 2016, the hold­ing of all pro­ces­sions or pub­lic demon­stra­tions or any class thereof in the Harare Cen­tral Po­lice Dis­trict,” reads the no­tice.

“For the avoid­ance of doubt, it is de­clared that, in terms of Sec­tion 27 (5) of the Pub­lic Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter 11:17), any per­son who or­gan­ises or as­sists 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 for a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing one year or both such fine and such im­pris­on­ment.”

This comes after po­lice two weeks ago banned demon­stra­tions up to Septem­ber 16 in Harare, again cit­ing in­ad­e­qua­cies in Sec­tion (26) of the Pub­lic Or­der and Se­cu­rity Act (Chap­ter 11:17) to pre­vent dis­or­der be­ing caused by such pro­ces­sions.

To ef­fect the ban, po­lice is­sued Statu­tory In­stru­ment 101A, which tem­po­rar­ily pro­hib­ited demon­stra­tions in the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict of Harare.

They also banned the car­ry­ing of cat­a­pults and axes among other weapons likely to be used to in­sti­gate vi­o­lence.

How­ever, Jus­tice Chigumba sus­pended the ban fol­low­ing a le­gal chal­lenge to the in­stru­ment mounted by Demo­cratic Restora­tion As­sem­bly (Dare), Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda (Nera), Ven­dors As­so­ci­a­tion and Com­bined Harare Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (Chra).

The or­der of in­va­lid­ity was, how­ever, sus­pended for seven work­ing days by Jus­tice Priscilla Chigumba to al­low the State to rec­tify the in­va­lid­ity of the de­fec­tive in­stru­ment used to ban the protests.

The move by the po­lice was ne­ces­si­tated by vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions by shad­owy group­ings linked to MDC-T and Zim­babwe Peo­ple First that re­sulted in the de­struc­tion of prop­erty in the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties meet­ing un­der the ban­ner of Na­tional Elec­toral Re­form Agenda (Nera) also fol­lowed with an­other demon­stra­tion where ac­tivists wan­tonly de­stroyed prop­erty while oth­ers were en­gaged in a loot­ing spree.

In­no­cent peo­ple and po­lice of­fi­cers on duty were not spared.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe last Fri­day warned vi­o­lent pro­tes­tors that they were “play­ing a dan­ger­ous game” and Gov­ern­ment would de­scend heav­ily on any­one caus­ing may­hem.

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