Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
POLICE yesterday issued a prohibition order against a demonstration planned by MDC-Alliance in Bulawayo today, saying anyone taking part in such action will face the full wrath of the law.
A prohibition notice compels one to stop an activity immediately.
In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the decision to ban the demonstration was arrived at following extensive consultations between the convener and the other stakeholders who include the business community.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to advise members of the public that the regulating authority for the Bulawayo Central District has issued a Prohibition Notice in terms of section 26 (9) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Chapter 11:17 against the holding of a demonstration by MDC and its partners scheduled on 19 August 2019. This was after an extensive consultation with the convener and other stakeholders who include the business community.
“The High Court has since confirmed a Prohibition Notice after a court case had been filed the Bulawayo business community today (yesterday) citing security concerns,” he said.
Section 26 (9) of POSA reads: “After considering representations made in the course of a meeting held in terms of subsection (3), if any, the regulating authority may, if he or she on reasonable grounds is convinced that no amendment or condition contemplated in subsection (5) or (6) would prevent the occurrence of any of the circumstances contemplated in subsection (3), issue a prohibition notice, giving the reasons and grounds therefore to the convener.”
Ass Comm Nyathi assured the nation that officers were on high alert to deal with rogue elements following the intended demonstration called for by the MDC-Alliance and its partners.
“Police have deployed to maintain law and order in all parts of the country. We implore the public to cooperate with the police as they seek to protect all Zimbabweans and visitors in the country,” he said.
Ass Comm Nyathi said members of the public should continue with their economic and social activities, saying the environment was calm.
He urged people to report any form of intimidation, threats, violence or obstruction of traffic to Bulawayo police operations on 09-885279, 881925 or Harare on 0242-703631 or WhatsApp 0712 800 197.
Ass Comm Nyathi said the police will be conducting patrols, surveillance, stop and searches to ensure law and order is maintained in all areas of the country. In this regard, security for all citizens is guaranteed to conduct their social and economic activities.
According to the Prohibition Notice signed by the Officer Commanding Bulawayo Central District, Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Phiri, some of the reasons cited for barring the MDC Alliance demonstration include flashes of violence, which were reported along Luveve Road last Friday during which roads were barricaded with tree branches and rocks. On the same day, a Harare-bound bus had its windows smashed while it was loading. Police also cited the recent bombing of war veterans’ Bulawayo provincial offices in Entumbane suburb.
Last week police issued a statement saying they had concrete evidence showing that MDC-Alliance had plans to roll out violent demonstrations, considering the assortment of weapons the force found being smuggled into parts of Harare.
An MDC Alliance’s attempt to stage a demonstration in the capital failed on Friday after the High Court upheld a prohibition order that had been issued by police. However, a few dozen opposition activists defied the ban and tried to converge at Africa Unity Square in Harare. Police dispersed them and arrested 91 of them.— @mashnets