zim government has banned demonstrations in Harare for two weeks

Lovemore Lubinda|zimnews

The government has banned demonstrations in Harare for two weeks, the Statutory Instrument 101A/2016, gazetted in a Government Gazette Extraordinary yesterday, 1st September 2016, is an order that prohibits the holding of “all public demonstrations” in the Harare Central Police District for a period of two weeks from Friday 2nd September to Friday 16th September.

Section 2 of the instrument describes the area within which the ban applies spanning away from what would normally be understood as the Central Business District (CBD), but also substantial areas of Gun Hill, Alexandra Park, Belgravia, and Milton Park.

The area is bounded by a series of named roads including portions of the National Railways of Zimbabwe headquarters to Mukuvisi River. As well as area bordered by Rekayi Tangwena Avenue, Coventry Road, Rotten Row, Enterprise Road, Churchill Road, Swan Drive, Cork Road, Sandringham Drive, Drummond Chaplin Street, and Bishop Gaul Avenue.

The order is made in terms of section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) by the Officer Commanding Harare Central Police District in his capacity as the regulating authority for the district.

The ban follows a series of planned public demonstrations as Zimbabweans seek alternative ways to express their anger over the alleged bad way in which the Zanu PF government is handling the affairs of the country.

This has seen more than 18 opposition parties that had planned a demo under NERA and Code to move their scheduled activity to Friday 16 September 2016 in line with the demands of the ban. The ban nets in both organisers and attendees in the same manner should there be any violation to its terms.

The contravention of the ban is termed an offense for both organisers and participants as indicated in section 27(5) of POSA which makes an offence for anyone to organise or assist in organising or take part in or attend any procession or public demonstration held in contravention of the statutory instrument. The maximum penalty is a fine of US300 (level 6) or a year incarceration or both.

The gazette described a public demonstration in terms of POSA as ‘a procession, gathering or assembly in a public place of persons and additionally, or alternatively, of vehicles, where the gathering is in pursuit of a common purpose of demonstrating support for or opposition to, any person, matter or thing, whether or not the gathering is spontaneous or is confined to persons who are members of a particular organisation, association or other body or to persons who have been invited to attend. zimnews