MDC appeals against rally ban

BULAWAYO - The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court here seeking to overturn a police ban on their planned rally at Zvishavane Park on Sunday.

This comes after officer commanding Zvishavane, chief superintendent Edward Ncube, blocked the event arguing that the ruling Zanu PF intends to hold a rally near the venue.

He said this was “likely to occasion breach of peace in form of political violence due to proximity”.

This has been the second attempt by the opposition party to hold a rally at the same venue after the initial notification for a November 6 assembly was also turned down.

Police cited two reasons, firstly, that there was a match pitting FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine, hence they were overstretched in terms of manpower and secondly that students from Midlands State University (MSU) were preparing to close after their final examinations, hence the element of being over-excited could not be ruled out.

Infuriated by the police move, the MDC supporters defied the ruling and went ahead with the event which saw deadly clashes between them and the police.

In the latest development, chief superintendent Ncube, commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo were cited as respondents.

In the founding affidavit filed by the MDC Midlands South provincial organising secretary Senima Msindo, the move by the police was described as unlawful and in violation of the concept of administrative justice.

“In the present matter, Ncube’s action as well as his previous conduct . . . is a total disregard of the law and its procedures.

“I now fear that Ncube is bent on frustrating the MDC in the conduct of her lawful business using his administrative authority and if not stopped by this honourable court, our right may continue being violated as already demonstrated in Ncube’s past conduct,” said Msindo in the court papers.

“In view of the seriousness of the matter and the unlawfulness of Ncube’s actions, I believe that the matter is urgent and there is no need to give notice to the parties.”

As a result, Msindo sought the court to interdict the police from interfering with the peaceful rally which “will promote the party’s political rights, freedom of expression, association and assembly as set out in Section 67, 61 and 58 of the Constitution.”

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