Zimbabweans from all walks of life yesterday commended the courts for upholding a ban on an intended MDC-Alliance demonstration, saying previous protests organised by the party had led to deaths and destruction of property.
MDC-Alliance notified police of their planned demonstration on August 5 this year, but the police issued an order on Thursday prohibiting the event for security reasons.
The opposition party then filed an urgent application in the High Court for review of the order, which was thrown out by Justice Joseph Musakwa.
The judge said MDC-Alliance should have approached the magistrates’ court first.
A few MDC-Alliance hooligans tried to disturb the peace in Harare’s central business district (CBD), but police were swift in dispersing them.
Mr Christopher Kamba, who sells soft drinks in Harare’s CBD, commended police for maintaining order in the city.
“These demonstrations affect our future and that of our children, so the police have done a great job in maintaining peace and order.
“We cannot have lawlessness in the country simply because someone wants to get into power through unconstitutional means.
“We appeal to the law enforcement agencies to keep their presence in town so that hooligans will not disturb our operations,” he said.
Mr Abel Joseph Gurure, a vendor at Charge Office Bus Terminus, said he was against demonstrations.
“As a nation we should be patient with Government policies and not engage in these demonstrations that have, in the past ended in violence and destruction of property.
“It is the peoples’ constitutional right to demonstrate but it should be done in a peaceful way but this has not been the case in the past that’s why I welcome the decision to ban the demonstrations,” he said.
Youth chairman for Mbare vegetable market vendors Simbarashe Chakarowa said that their business had been affected as only a few customers that turned up yesterday.
“We are open as usual but today business is a bit low because of few customers. We are selling perishable goods such as bananas, potatoes, cabbages, which might be affected,” Mr Chakarowa said.
Mr Norest Mapfumo (25) also commended the police.
“I come to town to make money not to demonstrate. As a vendor, I commend the police and the High Court for ending demonstrations because they incite violence. With the nature of my job I can only get money if there are people in town,” he said.
Mrs Faith Nyakonde (42) also said her business had been affected by the demonstration.
“Demonstrations disturb my work. I usually come to work around 8 am but because of MDC-A protests I came to work at around 1pm and that affects my business. The authorities should be commended for stopping this madness,” she said.
A Harare resident, Mr Conrad Makoto (24) said the MDC-A has a record of organising violent protests.
“MDC-A are violence perpetrators they were not supposed to demonstrate because it wasn’t approved. The police did a great job of dispersing them,” he said.
Mrs Juliana Dambamupfe hailed the police’s intervention.
“I was taken aback when l heard people shouting along Jason Moyo and the road was impassable so I want to thank our police force who intervened and restored sanity,” she said.
“Ordinary people going about their business were affected by the demonstrations.”
Meanwhile, Mr Biti yesterday said his party would proceed with their marches in other cities on Monday.
“We differ respectfully with the ruling of the High Court. We will not appeal to the magistrates’ court because we do not accept the correctness, with greatest respect, of the ruling of the High Court today.
“We will now proceed with our planned marches in Bulawayo on Monday the 19th, in Masvingo, Gweru and Mutare,” said Mr Biti.
The MDC-Alliance organised a violent demonstration on August 1 last year soon after the harmonised elections that resulted in the deaths of six people and destruction of property running into millions of dollars.
A similar protest on January also resulted in looting of shops across the country and the deaths of several people.