Protest Ban A Ploy To Thwart Opposition Parties

Protest Ban A Ploy To Thwart Opposition Parties
Published: 2016 September 05 06:07:46 (1215 Views)

OPPOSITION parties pushed their luck “too far and too fast” by failing to uphold the tenets of peaceful demonstrations, leading to the ban of the protests by government, the State-owned but Zanu PF controlled Herald says.

In an editorial comment, the government mouthpiece said:

“The least we can say about the two-week ban on political processions or demonstrations in Harare is that opposition parties should have seen it coming. They were already pushing their luck too far, too fast, the publication which is usually used to communicate government position on national issues as well as the ruling Zanu PF party propaganda wrote today.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe allows people to freely demonstrate or petition Government. So far political parties led by MDC-T and Zimbabwe People First have exercised this constitutional right.

“What has irked the authorities is that the demonstrators have ignored an important caveat that goes with the freedom and right to demonstrate. The demonstration has to be peaceful. That is to say, those who choose to demonstrate must respect the rights and freedoms of those who opt not to be part of the demonstrators.”

The Government, on Friday last week, invoked Statutory Instrument 101a of 2016 which prohibits the holding of public demonstrations, particularly in Harare until September 16, 2016. This immediately put a stop to a planned demonstration the same Friday by 18 political parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda.

The opposition parties are mulling challenging the legality of the ban in the Constitutional Court.

“The past few weeks have shown that in exercising their right to demonstrate, opposition political parties have failed not only to clearly articulate their agenda, but have not been able to keep their people in check, resulting in widespread violence and wanton destruction of property,” the Herald argued.

“The wave of violence included burning vehicles and attacking police officers trying to maintain law and order, as per their constitutional mandate. That state of lawlessness could not be allowed to continue while Government stood by”.

The Herald even went ballistic:  “A nation cannot be held to ransom by politicians making foggy demands through street protests simply because the Constitution allows them to march. Unless the leaders of NERA believe themselves to be above the law, they should indeed have seen the ban on demonstrations coming. They should thank their gods that it's temporary  because we are a functioning democracy.”

President Mugabe who has the habit of flying out of the country whenever there is a major protest march has warned judges to be careful in granting leave for parties to demonstrate especially where violence is likely.




- Herald
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