Tuesday, 5 June 2018

MDC FREE TO DEMONSTRATE : MPOFU

GOVERNMENT yesterday urged the MDC Alliance not to infringe on other citizens’ rights while exercising their right to demonstrate today.

Police yesterday approved the MDC Alliance application to demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in Harare.

The Advocate Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance is demonstrating to compel Zec to accede to their electoral demands which include being involved in the printing of ballot papers. The alliance also wants Zec to name the company which will be printing the ballot papers. Both demands are not supported by the country’s constitution.

In an interview, Home Affairs and Culture Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said MDC Alliance is free to demonstrate without infringing on the rights of other citizens.
He said State organs will closely monitor the demonstration to ensure that it is done in a peaceful manner.

“What they are doing is within the confines of the law. My information is that they have applied and have been granted permission to do so. And we are hoping that they stick to the requirements of their application,” he said.

Dr Mpofu said MDC Alliance leaders have assured Government that they will conduct themselves in a peaceful manner. He said violent behaviour will not be tolerated.
“We hope they will stick to commitments they made in their application. Any unbecoming behaviour on the part of the demonstrators will not be tolerated. We will actually be closely monitoring their activities to ensure that they don’t disturb peace and disrupt operations of other citizens in the process of their demonstrations,” he said.

MDC-T secretary general Mr Douglas Mwonzora said the demonstration was to force Zec on matters they have failed to negotiate successfully for.

“As a responsible party we have employed ushers who will help marshal our people through the demonstration. The demonstration seeks to redress those things that dialogue has not redressed,” said Mr Mwonzora.

Zimbabwe Republic Police commander for this year’s harmonised elections Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said police were ready to deal with malcontents that might disturb national peace during the demonstration.

Zec chairwoman, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, said while it was everyone’s right to demonstrate, all political parties were aware of the electoral body’s official position.

“We had a stakeholders’ engagement with political parties that are in Parliament last week,” she said.

“We respect their right to exercise their rights enshrined in the Constitution. All I can say is that they have been formally advised of our position with regards to the issues they are demonstrating against.”

The march will start from Africa Unity Square and proceed along Jason Moyo Avenue to the intersection of Harare Street and Jason Moyo.

Less than five people should hand over the petition to Zec. “After handing over the petition, you shall proceed along Harare Street (and) turn right into Samora Machel Avenue, turn right into First Street and turn left into Nelson Mandela back to Africa Unity Square,” reads a letter written to Mr Mwonzora by the police.

“Please confine your march to the above stated venue, route and time outlined. Police will monitor. Your cooperation with the police and other Government agents will be greatly appreciated.”
MDC-T national organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya told journalists in Harare yesterday they would hand over another petition to Government at Munhumutapa offices. The letter from the police does not mention Munhumutapa offices.

“We can follow that (stipulated) route but we can still hand over the petition,” Mr Chibaya said.
Meanwhile, the Zanu-PF Youth League called off its march that was scheduled for Harare today as police turned down their application.

“We have called off the solidarity march which we had slated for tomorrow (Tuesday 05 June 2018). The police turned down our request for a police clearance and as a law-abiding and responsible party organ, we unquestionably accept ZRP’s decision,” twitted Zanu-PF Youth League. Herald

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