Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PEACE and tranquillity were the order of the day in Midlands province as people went about their usual business shunning calls by the MDC Alliance to take to the streets yesterday.
Peace-loving Zimbabweans have already ignored the party’s call for demonstrations in Harare on Friday last week and in Bulawayo on Monday.
MDC-Alliance secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs Mr Innocent Gonese told a Press briefing on Monday in Bulawayo that the party would take its demonstrations to Gweru yesterday.
However, from Mberengwa to Gokwe North shops, retailers, wholesalers, hotel, lodges, institutions of higher and tertiary education, Government departments and financial institutions, were open with residents going about their usual business.
In Gweru residents went about their business without interference while police maintained a high visibility in the Central Business District and in the high and low density suburbs of Mkoba, Senga, Mtapa, Ascot, Riverside and Southdowns.
Shops and major supermarkets in and around the City of Progress opened for business as usual while banks and other firms in the city were operating normally.
Lectures at the Midlands State University (MSU) went on as usual with commuter omnibuses and Zupco buses ferrying students, workers and residents in general.
Inquiries made at the Gweru magistrates’ court yesterday showed that the MDC Alliance officials did not challenge the prohibition order issued by the police and as such the order made by the police prohibiting the demonstration stood. By 3PM nothing had been filed with the court.
In an interview, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the whole of Midlands province and Gweru in particular was peaceful with people going about their normal business.
He said there was no riotous behaviour observed in the whole province.
“Midlands province as a whole and Gweru in particular was very calm and we appreciate and thank members of the public who went on with their various social and economic activities. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) deployed its members across the province to ensure that they conduct patrols and maintain law and order and above all curtail any lawlessness,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“Because of the peace and tranquility which prevailed, we want to thank the people in the Midlands province and assure them that the police will be there to protect them as they engage in socio-economic activities.”
Midlands South MDC-Alliance chairperson and Gweru Mayor Councilor Josiah Makombe in an interview said he was disappointed with the police who issued a prohibition order against their planned demonstration. He said the order was issued at around 9PM on Monday.
“We are disappointed by the police actions in that they gave us a prohibition order on Monday evening at around 9PM. We feel that they should have given us the order in time for us to launch an appeal with the courts. So we thought it was a waste of money and time to appeal and we are going back to the drawing board,” he said.
The peace and calm in Midlands province is a massive blow to plans by the MDC-Alliance 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 in Bulawayo 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.