Zim protest ban worsening tensions
From MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE banning of public protests in the Harare central business district (CBD) has sparked a legal showdown between the beleaguered administration of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition parties.
Police, accused of partisanship, have prohibited the anti-Mugabe demonstrations arguing the protests had become violent and disruptive to business.
Human rights groups and the opposition have resisted such a ban as the latest violation of people’s democratic rights to protest.
They have challenged the police order in court.
The urgent matter was set to be heard at the High Court in Harare on Monday.
Disgruntled human rights and civil societies applied their urgent court case through Gilbert Dzikiti and Standrick Zvorwadza arguing the prohibition order issued under Statutory Instrument (SI 101a) was unconstitutional.
Opposition leader and former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, of People’s Democratic Party is, representing a group of opposition political parties and civil societies under the theme Democratic Restoration Assembly as well as the National Electoral Reform Agenda.
Combined Harare Residents’ Association, have also lodged an application.
Officer commanding for Harare district Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri have been cited.
“What Mugabe is trying to do is breaching the Constitution by assaulting the judiciary and by trying to cause direct and indirect fear into judges,” said Biti.
Harare has been the scene of protests in the past few weeks as a disgruntled civilians march against economic and political problems as well as corruption blamed on Mugabe’s government. Police have quashed the protests incurring wrath internationally.
The banning of goods from neighbouring South Africa has worsened tensions.
– CAJ News
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