Zimbabwe’s coalition of opposition parties defies ban on protests

September 16, 2016 5:30 pm

Demonstrators with ’s Tajamuka (We are agitated) group protest on September 15, 2016, in Makokoba Township, Bulawayo. (Photo by AFP)

Zimbabwe’s coalition of opposition parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) says it will challenge a police order that bans protests in the capital Harare.
Police on September 13 announced the ban on public protests in Harare from September 16 to October 15 nearly a week after courts struck down a similar order.
“This is a typical comedy of errors where the state has fallen into the very same legal trap it fell into last time,” Douglas Mwonzora, a NERA spokesman, said on Friday.
“A similar order was challenged before a competent court which declared it invalid and nothing is to be gained by issuing the same order again.”
The coalition has called for reform, including free access to electoral register, ahead of the 2018 election.
Promise Mkwananzi, the spokesman for Tajamuka (We are agitated) protest group, said anti-government protesters would defy the ban and stage a protest on Saturday.
“The constitution and the high court allow for peaceful demonstrations,” he said, adding, “The police are promoting lawlessness in the country by banning peaceful demonstrations.”
Zimbabwe has seen anti-government protests over the past weeks, with demonstrators calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

This photo taken on July 27, 2016, shows Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe speaking at a rally in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by AFP)

The opposition says the president has failed to properly address issues such as economic decline and mass unemployment.
Mugabe, who regularly appears in public, has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. He intends to stand again in the upcoming election. The opposition says the 2013 election won by Mugabe was rigged.
Earlier this month, Mugabe said his administration was determined to crack down on opponents, censuring judges for “reckless” rulings allowing previous protests.
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