MDC demo on today

HARARE - All is set for the main opposition MDC Alliance’s demonstration scheduled for today to press for electoral reforms.

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) okayed the protest march, a rarity during former president Robert Mugabe’s iron-fisted rule that spanned nearly four decades before it was ended by a soft coup last November.

In clearing the demonstration, the ZRP ordered the MDC to ensure that the march starts from the iconic Africa Unity Square, built in 1890, then proceed along Jason Moyo Avenue to the intersection of Harare Street and Jason Moyo Avenue.

The law enforcement agents disallowed the marchers to proceed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Munhumutapa offices where they intended to petition him over a litany of alleged electoral deficiencies.

The police said less than five people would be allowed to handover the petition at the Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec) offices, situated at Number 1 Nelson Mandela Avenue, in Harare.

“After handing over the petition, you shall proceed along Harare Street, turn right into Samora Machel (Avenue), turn right onto First Street, turn left into Nelson Mandela (Avenue) and back to Africa Unity Square,” the police clearance letter reads in part.

The protesters were also ordered to confine their demonstration to the venue and routes stated in their notification, warning that “provisions of section 29 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Chapter 11:17 will be invoked if any of the conditions stated above, is violated”.

POSA was introduced in 2002 by Mugabe’s government and was amended in 2007.

The chief architects of the Act when it was formulated were John Nkomo and Mnangagwa.

Many regard POSA as an act that helped Mugabe consolidate his power.

It gives untold powers to the police and is widely regarded as the worst affront on human rights.

The police gave the clearance as the MDC Alliance, comprising seven political parties, threatens to stop the forthcoming harmonised elections if its demands for electoral reforms are not met.

Led by Nelson Chamisa, the alliance accuses Mnangagwa of planning to steal the election through systematic rigging and denying other parties access to information.

Addressing journalists at the MDC’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House headquarters yesterday, the party’s organising secretary Amos Chibaya, said it was all systems go for the demonstration today.

Chibaya claimed to have gathered information to the effect that Zanu PF intended to infiltrate the marchers in order to cause violence.

“We are aware that Zanu PF has organised overzealous supporters to infiltrate us and cause havoc and paint us in a bad picture, we will not have that,” Chibaya said.

“We encourage the people of Zimbabwe to exercise restraint in the face of provocation. We encourage the participants not to engage in violence and looting or damaging property because this is supposed to be a free and fair election — peaceful march”.

Chibaya was adamant yesterday that they will hand their petition to Mnangagwa notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by the ZRP.

“We notified the police of our intention to march according to the dictates of the law so we are going to do that. We will then send people with the petition to Mnangagwa’s office,” he said.

The MDC is demanding that the ballot papers to be used in the July 30 elections be printed by a company selected through an open tender and that the ballots should be subjected to an independent audit.

“This is a crucial time and we must be vigilant. Ballot paper remains a serious threat to democracy. As long as the printing of the ballot paper is shrouded in secrecy then there cannot be an election in the country,” said Chibaya.

“As long as the voters’ roll has not been audited by credible independent auditors there cannot be an election, as long as securocrats remain entrenched in the Zec secretariat interfering with our democratic right to choose a leader we want then Zimbabwe cannot have elections.

“We also want to participate in the national logistics committee in Zec so that the election is run in a manner that produces an uncontested outcome”.


Comments (1)

Daily News you are lagging in your online articles. Your competitiors have already covered this demonstration which went on peacefully with few or no incidents of violence reported. Perhaps the idea is to boost your sales of hard copies but you could lose ground to your rivals on readership especially as we head towards the elections. Regarding the demonstration, ZRP did a magnificent job by not using the archaic and strong arm tactics of the past, allowing it to go ahead as well as thwarting the disruption that ZANU PF wanted to unleash. Now ZANU can demonstrate at its own time and I hope the Opposition will allow and respect this to happen . This is democracy at work folks and may the best party win.

Jaikolu maison - 6 June 2018

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