GOVERNMENT yesterday said it supported the prohibition of demonstrations effected in Harare Central Business District by the police and warned that security arms will resolutely safeguard the peace and tranquillity characteristic of Zimbabwe.
The National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) yesterday vowed to disregard the ban. Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo told The Herald last night that while the Constitution allowed demonstrations, the supreme law also speaks to the need to preserve peace.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs supports the ban or prohibition on demonstrations which has been effected in Harare Central Business District by the ZRP. ’The ban, effective from 16th September to 15 October 2016, has been necessitated by the abuse of freedoms enshrined in the Constitution by some malcontents and opposition political parties in the country,” he said.
Added Dr Chombo: “We are aware of the provisions of Section 59 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, which give the right to peacefully demonstrate and to present petitions. However, most of the recent anti-Government demonstrations have not been peaceful and organisers of these demonstrations have tended to blame the police for initiating violence when in actual fact, open acts of violence, provocation, intimidation and barricading of roads with boulders, stones and other dangerous objects have taken place before the ZRP’s intervention.”
He said the Constitution was categorical on the need to preserve peace.
“Section 219 of the Zimbabwean Constitution is clear on the ZRP’s mandate to preserve peace and to protect life and property. The Police cannot stand idly by while hooligans interfere with the rights of other citizens by looting property in shops, attacking innocent civilians’ vehicles and even police officers.”
“Surprisingly, the CNN, a Western propaganda media house, in its capacity as one of the mouthpieces for the Zimbabwean regime change agenda, has gone on to stage-manage an interview with a bogus police officer to create confusion. The stage-managed interview is an agenda-setting tool, which is intended to influence deliberations at the upcoming NAM and UN General Assembly meetings to be attended by Heads of State.
‘’We, therefore, urge CNN to engage relevant officials within the ZRP and to verify facts before publishing falsehoods that tarnish the image of the country.”
He said Government was aware that the so-called civic groups were manufacturing videos and photo-shopping images which they post on social media platforms to tarnish the country’s image.
“Their objective is to induce public disorder and eventually remove a legitimate government from
power by force.
Having failed to secure adequate electoral support to rule, the MDC and its handlers are left with no other option but to attempt to violently seize power from a legitimate government. Anyone who wishes to rule has no other option but to persuade the electorate to vote for him/her, come 2018.”
Dr Chombo implored Zimbabweans to remain peaceful by ignoring the opposition call for lawlessness.
“Let me assure all Zimbabweans that the ZRP and other security agents will remain resolute in safeguarding the peace and quiet that our country is known for.
Let us all follow the laws of the land. If anyone has issues, my office has always been open to discuss peacefully and amicably,” he said.
The Officer Commanding Harare Central District Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama issued a prohibition order yesterday in terms of Section 27 (1) of the POSA prohibiting the holding of all public demonstrations or processions on the basis it was incapacitated to deal with the disorder caused by such events. Herald