Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Police have banned demonstrations in Harare for the next two weeks citing inadequacies in Section (26) of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17) to prevent disorder being caused by such processions.
In a related matter, the police also banned the carrying of catapults and axes among other traditional weapons likely to be used to instigate violence.
This follows violent demonstrations by shadowy groupings linked to MDC-T and ZimPF that resulted in the destruction of property in the Central Business District.
Political parties meeting under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) last week held a demonstration where activists wantonly destroyed property while others were engaged in a looting spree.
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In Statutory Instrument 101A, known as the Public Order and Security (Temporary Prohibition of the Public Demonstrations in the Central Business District of the Harare Police District) Order, 2016, issued in an Extra Government Gazette yesterday, the police said: “The regulating authority, believing on reasonable grounds that powers conferred by Section 26 of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17) will not be sufficient to prevent public disorder being occasioned by the holding of processions or public demonstrations or any class thereof in Harare Central Police District, hereby issues this order prohibiting, for a period of two weeks from Friday the 2nd September, 2016, to Friday, the 16th September, 2016, the holding of all public demonstrations in the Harare Central Police District.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that, in terms of sections 27 (5) of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter11:17), any person who organises or assist in organising or takes part in or attends any procession or public demonstration held in contravention of an order under section 27 (1) of the Act shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level six or to imprisonment of a period not exceeding one year or both such fine and imprisonment.”
In a statement yesterday, Officer Commanding Harare District Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama said: “In terms of Section 14 (1) of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17), I chief superintendent Newbert Saunyama being the officer commanding police Harare Central District and therefore the regulating authority of the area bounded by Rekayi Tangwena, Coventry Road, Rotten Row Road, the National Railways of Zimbabwe up to the Mukuvisi River, Enterprise Road, Churchill Road, Swan Drive, Cork Road, Sandringham Drive, Drummond Chaplin Street and Bishop Gaul Avenue, believes on reasonable grounds
that the carrying in public whether openly or by concealment in public place or public thoroughfare or public display of the following weapons or items capable of use as weapons:
(a) Catapults, machetes, axes knobkerries, knives, swords or daggers.
(b) Any traditional weapon whatsoever is likely to occasion public disorder or a breach of the peace,
Hereby issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons in the area or any part thereof for a period not exceeding three months that is from 2nd September 2016 to 2nd December 2016.”
This prohibition comes in the wake of another demo that was organised by Nera today largely in Bulawayo after a dismal flop of a supposed shut down of Harare on Wednesday.
In a statement yesterday, MDC-T said the demo was now going to be held on 16 September.
The party said the police demanded that all the political parties signatory to Nera should have given them adequate notice to stage the demonstrations.
“As such, it has been agreed that the political parties will continue with the demonstrations on September 16, 2016,” reads the statement.
“It is the constitutional right of all citizens of Zimbabwe to stage peaceful demonstrations.”
Zim PF elder Mr Didymus Mutasa contradicted the MDC-T statement saying they were going to meet today for consultations.
He insisted that if police cleared them, the demo would go ahead today as previously planned.
“We are trying to seek police clearance but we will do consultations tomorrow,” he said.
On Tuesday Zanu-PF national commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere who is the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, told reporters that Zanu-PF would not allow failed politicians seeking relevance to subvert a constitutionally elected Government.
“Anybody who thinks can simply walk in the State House through that process (violence) will be joking,” he said. “This use of violence is unconstitutional and if you try to use that you are a criminal. This violence is being sponsored by people who have no capacity of winning elections. They think this violence will produce a new leader of which that is very wrong.”