Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO was an oasis of peace and tranquility yesterday with no recorded incidents of violence as residents remained calm and went about their normal business following a prohibition order issued by the police against the MDC Alliance demonstration.
Police on Sunday issued a prohibition order barring the MDC Alliance from demonstrating yesterday and the Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court upheld the ban.
Most of the city’s residents went about their business without interference while police maintained a high visibility in the Central Business District.
Most shops and major supermarkets in the CBD and outlying shopping centres remained open for business as usual while banks, bureaux de change and other firms in the city were operating normally.
Commuter omnibuses and Zupco buses were ferrying people into and out of the CBD with no hassles.
In an interview, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said no riotous behaviour was observed in the city.
“Bulawayo has been very calm and we urge members of the public to continue with their various social and economic activities. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) deployed its members to ensure that they conduct patrols and maintain law and order and above all curtail any lawlessness,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“We want to urge members of the public to report anyone who would want to intimidate, threaten or block traffic. So far we have not recorded any incidents. The situation is very calm.”
Earlier in the day the police had posted on micro blogging site, Twitter, urging transport operators and the business community to continue offering their services as their security was guaranteed.
“The ZRP wishes to advise members of the public that the security situation in Bulawayo is calm. We urge the public to co-operate with the police as they perform their duties to ensure law and order is maintained.
“Business and transport operators are encouraged to allow the public to access their services. Any acts of lawlessness should be reported to the police for swift action to be taken on 09885479 or 0242748836,” ZRP tweeted.
The peace and calm in Bulawayo is a massive blow to plans by the MDC-A to engineer an uprising in the country and topple the legitimately elected Government of Zimbabwe.
The High Court on Sunday blocked the planned demonstrations by the MDC-Alliance following an urgent chamber application by residents, the business community and churches. Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Mabhikwa, ruled that MDC-Alliance could not go ahead with the demonstrations after the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’ Association, the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura), the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) and city businessman Mr Davies Muhambi approached the High Court on an urgent basis seeking an order prohibiting the opposition party from carrying out the demonstrations in the city.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs Mr Innocent Gonese told a press briefing yesterday in Bulawayo that the party would take its demonstrations to Gweru today.
“As far as we are concerned we have already indicated that we are going to have a demonstration tomorrow (today) in Gweru, Wednesday in Masvingo and Thursday in Mutare. Those demonstrations are an enforcement of the rights of the people of Zimbabwe. As a result as far as we are concerned those are going ahead we have complied with the provisions of the law, we have informed the police and we believe that it is incumbent upon the police to ensure that our rights are actually enforced. I don’t believe there is any justifiable reason to issue prohibition orders every time,” said Mr Gonese.
He said their protests have nothing to do with the economic situation but are meant to push Government to dialogue with the opposition party.
“We gave you a road map but let me outline it for you. We said we are embarking on political action, the intention is really to get to a stage where we will have dialogue, where we will have discussions and our roadmap is very clear that we want to have reforms. Once we have got reforms, they will lead to free and fair elections and then we will have a restoration of legitimacy. The reason why we are in this quagmire is because we have a crisis of legitimacy. It is a political crisis. Until we resolve the political crisis we will never resolve the economic challenges. That is a clear roadmap we can outline,” he said.—@nqotshil.