POLICE yesterday issued a notice of a proposed temporary prohibition order of the holding of public demonstrations and processions in the Harare Central Business District beginning Friday to October 15. The proposed prohibition order was issued by the regulating authority of the area, the Officer Commanding Harare Central District, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama.
This comes after police two weeks ago banned demonstrations up to September 16 in Harare, 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 traditional weapons likely to be used to instigate violence. The High Court, however, 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 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 the 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.
“I Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, being the Officer Commanding police Harare Central District and therefore the regulating authority of the area hereby issue a notice of a proposed temporary prohibition order of the holding of public demonstrations and processions or any class thereof in terms of Sections27 (2) (a) Public Order and Security Act (Chapter11:17), in the Harare Central policing district, that is the area bounded by Cumberland, Enterprise Road, Churchill. Swan Drive, Cork Road Sandringham Drive, Drummond Chaplin, Marimba Stream, Coventry Road, Rotten Row, National Railways of Zimbabwe up to Mukuvisi River and back to Cumberland for a period not exceeding one month that is from 16th of September 2016 to 15th October 2016. All stakeholders are accordingly advised,” he said.
Opposition political parties and shadowy groupings, with financial backing from Western countries, have in the past month been staging violent demonstrations in a bid to destabilise the Constitutional Order.
President Mugabe last Friday warned the violent protestors that they were “playing a dangerous game” and Government would descend heavily on anyone causing mayhem. Addressing a Zanu-PF Central Committee meeting, the President said opposition elements, led by the MDC-T, had adopted a policy of violence in a bid to create a false electoral crisis and avoid elections in 2018.
As such, President Mugabe said, Government’s patience had run out and no one should cry foul when the law descended heavily on those fomenting chaos.
“The demonstrations we have witnessed in the last few weeks, we not by accident of history, but were purposefully choreographed and launched in the mistaken belief that time was ripe for a popular uprising against Government,” he said. Herald