Police, protesters defiance sparks Zimbabwe strife
From MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE is on the brink of strife after the opposition and civil society vowed to defy a police ban and proceed with demonstrations this weekend.
In a latest defiance of court orders by agencies of the administration of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF), police have announced a ban on protests.
Movement for Democratic Change secretary, Douglas Mwonzora, said opposition parties and civil society groups would not recognize the decision by police.
He said the fresh bans were an affront to the Constitution.
“The police ban on lawful demonstrations is a gross violation of the citizens’ constitutional rights. Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe accords Zimbabweans the right to embark on peaceful demonstrations as well as to present petitions,” said Mwonzora.
“The Zanu PF regime, fronted by the panicky and paranoid dictator (President) Robert Mugabe, cannot and, indeed, will not succeed in curtailing the people’s constitutional right to demonstrate. The demonstrations will go ahead as planned.”
The High Court recently ruled the protests as citizens’ constitutional rights. This incurred the wrath of Mugabe.
Lawyers for Human Rights has launched another court opposing the moves by police.
The ban is based on the draconian Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
“The ban is quite problematic in that it was made under Posa, which is in itself a violation of the Constitution. We are working on a court application which is likely to challenge the Act from which the police are deriving their powers,” said legal head, Dzimbabwe Chimbga.
Zimbabweans have in recent weeks protested against the economic meltdown and rampant corruption.
Police have reacted with brutality against protesters.
– CAJ News
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