The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Tendai Mu­gabe and Abi­gail Ma­wonde

AN il­le­gal demon­stra­tion called by the Zim­babwe Congress of Trade Unions yes­ter­day flopped and close to 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s seven lead­ers, were ar­rested for tak­ing part in the un­sanc­tioned gath­er­ing.

ZCTU or­gan­ised the il­le­gal demon­stra­tion pur­port­edly to protest against eco­nomic re­forms in the coun­try.

The demon­stra­tion was not cleared by the po­lice.

The ZCTU ap­pli­ca­tion at the civil court to com­pel the po­lice to clear the demon­stra­tion was also dis­missed yes­ter­day.

In Harare, over 50 il­le­gal ven­dors who were in­cited by ring lead­ers were also ar­rested.

In Mutare, 22 peo­ple were ar­rested, while 12 were nabbed in Masvingo for the same rea­sons.

All the ar­rested will ap­pear in court to­day for con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 46 of the Crim­i­nal Law (Cod­i­fi­ca­tion and Re­form) Act (Chap­ter 9:23).

Those out­side Harare will ap­pear at mag­is­trate courts in their re­spec­tive prov­inces.

Po­lice spokesper­son As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Paul Ny­athi con­firmed the ar­rests yes­ter­day.

“Yes, I can con­firm that in Harare seven ring lead­ers of the ZCTU who were in­cit­ing peo­ple in the Cen­tral Busi­ness District with plac­ards to join their un­sanc­tioned gath­er­ing were ar­rested,” he said.

“Over 50 ven­dors who were in­vited to join the gath­er­ing in the CBD were also ar­rested. Those ar­rested in Harare in­clude Zim­babwe Banks and Al­lied Work­ers Union sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Peter Mu­tasa and ZCTU chair­man.

“In Mutare, 22 peo­ple were ar­rested and in Masvingo 12 oth­ers were ar­rested af­ter be­ing in­vited by the ZCTU to join their il­le­gal gather­ings.

“They will all ap­pear in court to­mor­row (to­day).”

In dis­miss­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion by the ZCTU, mag­is­trate Mr Lanzini Ncube said the ban by the po­lice was in the pub­lic’s in­ter­est con­sid­er­ing the out­break of cholera.

The cholera out­break has killed close to 50 peo­ple, mainly in Harare.

“It is, there­fore, my view that the ban is im­ple­mented as in­di­cated when one is con­sid­er­ing the cholera pan­demic be­dev­illing the na­tion,” said Mr Ncube.

“The ban is there­fore, in the in­ter­est of pub­lic health.

“The re­spon­dent (ZRP) also cited the in­ci­dent that took place in the CBD whereby a civil­ian was shot by an­other civil­ian and that the tem­pers are still high from that in­ci­dent.

“While there might be no ev­i­dence that tem­pers are still high, it can­not be ruled out that mal­con­tents may take ad­van­tage of the march by the ap­pli­cants and then be­have in an un­ruly be­hav­iour which will af­fect the other in­no­cent peo­ple.”

ZCTU lawyer Mr Noble Chin­hanu had ar­gued that the ban was un­con­sti­tu­tional.

He said the po­lice were not legally per­mit­ted to ban peo­ple from ex­er­cis­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed rights.

The ZCTU lead­er­ship in­cited peo­ple on so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day en­cour­ag­ing them to join the il­le­gal demon­stra­tion.

The demon­stra­tion flopped af­ter peo­ple ig­nored the call in all cities and towns.

In Harare, it was busi­ness as usual, with the po­lice closely mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

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