Zimbos ignore govt demo ban

HARARE - The spirit of defiance sweeping across the country is showing little sign of waning, with two rights lobby groups planning to hold daring demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF today, despite last week’s police ban on protests in Harare.

The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) and radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile told the Daily News yesterday that they would hold a joint demonstration in the capital today, in total defiance of the two-week protest ban in the capital that stretched police announced last week.

The demonstration comes as High Court judge Priscillah Chigumba is set to hear an urgent application by pro-democracy groups and 18 opposition parties — who want the court to quash the police ban on protests which they argue is in violation of the country’s Constitution.

Navuz and Tajamuka/Sesijikile said today’s demonstration would be the first of many more protests to come this week, which they have lined up against Mugabe, who on Saturday lashed out at judges for allowing demonstrations to proceed.

“We are going to have a series of demonstrations in Harare this week. We are also going to move to all corners of the country. We can’t stop because we are hungry, there is nothing we can do.

“This is the start of a new phase as we are going to have a series of protests against draconian laws ... We are going to have a mega demonstration today in the Harare central business district against the move to stop people from expressing their views.

“As citizens, we respect the Constitution and we want to teach the government to respect the rule of law. We protected a dictator for 36 years and we also allowed oppressive and draconian laws.

“The ban of demonstrations is against the spirit of the Constitution. That means it’s a dead law. We are calling upon all citizens to reject this bad law in justice,” Navuz president Stendrick Zvorwadza told the Daily News.

He said many other pressure groups, as well as “progressive citizens who are struggling to put food on the table as a result of the current economic problems” had committed to taking part in today’s demo.

“Zimbabwe is nose-diving because its political pilots lack the experience to rescue it. Tomorrow (today) we want to show them that their thinking is not the law.

“Solving the Zimbabwean crisis is as easy as cutting butter with a red-hot knife and the methodology is simply replacing the current government with a completely new one,” the firebrand Zvorwadza, who has been beaten and incarcerated countless times by police over the past few months, said.

Last week, police invoked Statutory Instrument 101A that bans demonstrations in central Harare. This occurred a few hours before opposition parties were to hold a mega demonstration in the capital.

The ban followed bloody clashes in the capital on August 26 when police defied a court order and bludgeoned thousands of protestors who had gathered under the auspices of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), to protest outstanding electoral reforms, ahead of the country’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

The heavily armed riot police — backed by armoured trucks and water cannons — indiscriminately fired volleys of teargas at all and sundry, battering and chasing around groups of determined opposition supporters to the shock of Zimbabweans.

Previously, police had also used force on protesters demonstrating against the government’s plan to introduce bond notes and Zanu PF’s unrealised promise of 2,2 million jobs.

In all these cases, the protestors had been granted court orders to go ahead with their demonstrations.

But addressing Zanu PF youths on Saturday, Mugabe threatened judges for granting these court orders, suggesting that they were being negligent in allowing the demonstrations to go ahead — which he said were aimed at toppling him from power.

“Of course, we can’t allow them (the opposition) to continue with these violent demonstrations unimpeded. Enough is enough,” Mugabe thundered.

The attack evoked bad memories from 2001 when the government purged white judges from the Bench, including the then chief justice Anthony Gubbay, for ruling against Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reform programme.

His rant came as the High Court will this morning hear an urgent application filed by pro-democracy groups against the police ban.

But Zvorwadza, who is among the applicants in today’s hearing, said demonstrations were allowed by the courts and were the only way of extricating Zimbabwe from Zanu PF’s misrule, a party he said was “clueless” about resolving the country’s deepening rot.

“A free Zimbabwe is possible only after we replace the current murderous leadership with genuine men and women,” the fearless activist said.

Tajamuka activist Sylvanos Mudzvova also urged “long-suffering Zimbabweans” to turn up in their numbers to support the demo and fight the police ban.

“We are going to participate in today’s demonstration as the ban is unconstitutional. We especially want to urge Tajamuka members to come in their numbers. We have nothing to fear because the conditions of being outside or inside the jail are the same due to the current economic woes.

“We won’t give this regime space to breathe. We want to press them until they meet all our demands,” Mudzvova told the Daily News.

Since the economy began experiencing serious turbulence, including witnessing banks running out of cash, this has put the government under growing pressure on as angry Zimbabweans have mounted seemingly unending demonstrations.

The country’s dying economy has also hit government revenues which have declined at the same pace as the shrinking production levels.

Mugabe, in power for 36 uninterrupted years, is facing the biggest challenge to his rule as civil unrest grows on the back of the worsening economic problems, as well as the seemingly unstoppable factional and successive wars ravaging his ruling Zanu PF.

In July, riots also broke out in the border town of Beitbridge when angry traders protested against the government’s ill-advised decision to ban the importation of basic consumer goods.

More than 70 people were arrested in the aftermath of those riots which destroyed property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including the burning of a warehouse belonging to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

The riots later spread to Harare where police once again used force to break a demonstration called by commuter omnibus drivers and touts to protest too many police roadblocks on the roads which they said had become extortionate.

Comments (14)

@dailynews:story should have been ZIMBOS IGNORE DEMOS,as more people are ignoring calls to join protests than joining them,a story on that would have been more apropriate as events on the ground show that the membership of zvoradzwas union ignored him and his fighting a lone battle

truth - 5 September 2016

@ FALSEHOODS, until when are you going to hide in your spirit of denial. You must be ashamed of your self. Go everywhere right now , people are distressed because of the ongoing misgovernance and impoverishment. Go to rural areas and find out, the moods is the same. Until when do you think imposing fear on citizens will be the solution? If your own child ask for a piece of bread, do you strike his head with an iron bar simply because he is demanding food? For your own informations Zimbabweans , I mean the majority, that is people who have no access to corrupt avenues, are not happy, they have been let down by the government. Do not mistake people's silence for foolishness. After all if people were ignoring demonstrations, then there will be no need to ban the demonstrations when they are provided for in the constitution. I mean peaceful demos because they have been banned.

MUNHU - 5 September 2016

this is crazyy y do they want to ban demonstrations yyyyyy

debarrusso - 5 September 2016

'Truth' haana nyaya. Zimbos will never ignore call to shut Mugabe off.

hondo - 6 September 2016

These guys must go, they have failed and i like Mukoma Jonso, he admitted recently that we were busy fighting each other in Zanu Pf for the past 3 years. Zanu PF must know that without support of all citizens there can never be development. Its not about being in the offices and saying we have power, you need to have the real power and real power is with the people.

Ballista - 6 September 2016

We need to pray for our leaders that they be considerate. People are tired and fed up by their lies. Time will come when even the army, the police, the CIO operatives etc will not listen to them. Currently many of them are not in agreement with them BUT NDEZVE BASA CHETE. Remember these are our relatives and they tell us. BE WARNED.

Icho - 6 September 2016

The problem with people who have overstayed in power as a result of rigging think that they own this country. This country belongs to the masses not themselves as such they must realise where the wind blows to. If the majority declare that they no longer their leadership they just have to admit as other leaders out there do rather than continued oppression. Accept failure and get relieved and no one curses you for admiting failure. Let the voices of the masses be heard and act likewise. No need for draconian laws anymore.

Dokonda Nyamakate - 6 September 2016

Zvorwadaza and Tajamuka pindai mustreet tinopedzerana this time haulume

UNOZVIONA PINDA MUSTREET TINOPEDZERANA - 6 September 2016

@icho - they are not our leaders. ... and pray to who? Satan? These are bloodthirsty vampires that want to suck all our blood....

Sagitarr - 6 September 2016

These guys who what people to join them to demonstrate are being paid so even if they are beaten up they have a payment . You want us to join you so that you get more money ? Get away with your demonstration !!!! Take your children to the streets and demonstrate .

Hayibo ! - 6 September 2016

Daily News tipei maserios isu tisina access to your hard copy we wait until well after 4pm to get the paper online ?????????????????

Sarah - 6 September 2016

That ban is meaningless, Dictactors have applied similar tactics before and they have never worked. The population is conered in hunger and self inflicted poverty and will simply push back. The safety pin of people's anger is off.

X-MAN IV - 6 September 2016

@ sarah u are ryt pliz may we have the best newspaper online ealier please

TIRED - 7 September 2016

@ sarah u are ryt pliz may we have the best newspaper online ealier please

TIRED - 7 September 2016

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