'Protesters must pay security deposit'

HARARE - Zimbabweans intending to exercise their constitutional right to protest must first pay a security deposit in case they destroy property, Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo suggested.

The Higher and Tertiary Education minister made the suggestion on social networking site, Twitter.

“Since Constitution requires demos to be peaceful and respect rights of others, their organisers must deposit surety!” Moyo said.

“Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that every person has the right to demonstrate and present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully,” he argued.

He added: “Section 86 (1) of the Constitution . . . provides that the fundamental rights and freedoms set out in this Chapter (in the Bill of Rights) must be exercised reasonably and with due regard for the rights and freedoms of other persons”.

Reached for comment on whether he was going to pursue the idea with Cabinet, Moyo could neither confirm nor deny.

“I cannot say whether I will or I will not take to Cabinet my opinion that organisers of demonstrations or protests should (offer) surety because Cabinet deliberations are confidential,” he said.

However, Moyo’s suggestion was viewed as imposition of a “demonstration tax” by Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa.

“Moyo gave a hint of another option which they are probably considering, the absurd measure to impose surety requirement on demonstration,” Magaisa said.

He said if adopted, it would discriminate against the poor who cannot afford to pay security.

“It would result in a situation where constitutional rights would only be reserved for the wealthy who by comparison, probably have less cause to exercise freedoms such as the right to demonstrate,” Magaisa said.

“Even if the idea is to prevent violence, there must be other less drastic and discriminatory remedies to achieve the same objective than imposing financial tax on constitution rights,” he said, adding that “it may be Moyo’s opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were considering such a measure. Zanu PF is capable of doing the most absurd measures, even if it is to stretch the limits of the law.”

Moyo’s suggestion comes amid a wave of protests that have rocked Zimbabwe in the past months.

The protesters are demanding that 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe — Zimbabwe’s only leader since independence 36 years ago — resigns immediately due to his failed leadership.

The demonstrators accuse Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF of grossly mismanaging the economy, turning a blind eye to corruption and failing to fulfil his 2013 election campaign promises, particularly to create 2,2 million new jobs.

In repressive reaction to the escalating protests, government imposed a two weeks ban of protests in Harare, which was later lifted by the High Court.

Comments (7)

Violence is provoked by the police. If the police could only escort and monitor protestors, there would be no violence. And besides, what if the protests take the form of staying in the townships? What Mr. Moyo is covering up is the fact that if protests are allowed to happen, they will lead to the state house where we will politely ask Mugabe to step down. But Mr. Mugabe is afraid so what Mr. Moyo should have suggested was to create a safe passage for Mr. Mugabe, his family and perhaps some of his friends to North Korea. There they will be secure and silent until they die of natural causes.

Mr Dete - 11 September 2016

But either way, it's also unconscionably unjust for 3rd parties to have their properties destroyed and have no recourse! It'll be sensible if there are measures established, to hold vandals accountable for their indiscretions!

Frank Zibusiso Nyathi - 11 September 2016

Let's take this madness further by ensuring that voters must have at least 5 "O" Levels and then see what happens!

Sagitarr - 11 September 2016

...and the police must pay a deposit in case they beat up and injure or kill people who are demonstrating peacefully. This is the kind of madness that we are being subjected to by the so called professors of this world, unbelievable that moyo can stoop to that level. This is a classic example of what they call educated fools. You are crazy moyo to reason like that, can you go ask your empty-headed policemen to stop beating up and tear-gassing peaceful demonstrators and see if anyone will burn or destroy anything. Handei tione!!

misty - 11 September 2016

Democracy enshrined by the constitution by our pple was never meant to be sold.Its not for sale.It shuld not be sold.Shuld not be used to raise mney .No Zimbo shuld pay for democratic right.Police have a budget and thru that budget they shuld protect protesters at all tymes.If police are failing to do that ,protecting property ,then its not money they require bt a new police commissioner who will gurruntee that.Moyo has no knowledge of civil protests .He has one thing in mind,repression.

viola gwena - 11 September 2016

All along I didn't know that Jonono was such a buffoon,out of touch with reality.So you think this is a joking matter.What you are concerned with is your continued stay in power and whatever ills affecting the people to be swept under the carpet.

misheck chiduku - 12 September 2016

Did you pay us a deposit when you killed people during gukurahundi.

Blues jena - 13 September 2016

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