Tendai Kamhungira 6 April 2018
HARARE – Zimbabwean police have outlawed demonstrations called by Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) demanding electoral reforms, claiming the
demonstration will violate road users’ rights.
CiZC – a conglomeration of Zimbabwean civic groups – wanted to march from
the central business district to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission yesterday, where the coalition intended to hand over a petition
to the election management body and to Parliament, demanding the speedy
implementation of electoral reforms.
After the proscription of the demo, CiZC dragged the Zimbabwe Republic
Police to court seeking an order restraining the law enforcement agency
from interfering with the demonstration.
CiZC had said the demonstration would go on peacefully.
In a letter written to CiZC acting director Thulani Mswelanto, one chief
superintendent Ncube said CiZC should shelve the march because “violations
of other road users’ freedoms are highly likely during the march” and that
the flow of traffic along the proposed route will be “highly disturbed”.
Ncube said CiZC could only gather at Africa Unity Square from 1000hrs to
1200hrs from where the civil society organisation can then hand over its
petition to Parliament.
This prompted CiZC to engage its lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, who filed an exparte application at Harare Magistrates’ Court,
which was due to be heard yesterday.
In the application, human rights lawyer Noble Chinhanu of ZLHR, argued
that the conditions and amendments set by Chief Superintendent Ncube of
confining the protesters to Africa Unity Square only, takes away the right
of CiZC to hold a procession.
Chinhanu argued that the decision by Ncube was made without inviting CiZC
representatives to a consultative meeting to explore options to prevent
any threat if any and to allow the coalition to make representations.
Chinhanu wanted the court to set aside the order prohibiting the public
procession and interdict Ncube and his agents from disturbing or
interfering in any way with the public demonstration and procession.
The human rights lawyer also wants the court to declare Ncube’s actions as
unlawful and unconstitutional.