By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, September 01, 2016 – OPPOSITION political parties coalescing under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) have called off their anti-government marches which they had planned for this Friday following a ban on all demonstrations issued by the state on Thursday.
Friday’s march was set to bring together 18 political parties in countrywide marches while demanding the current government to implement electoral reforms.
Government on Thursday issued an extra-ordinary gazette banning any demonstrations in Harare, while similar NERA demonstrations which were set for Bulawayo and Mutare were also banned.
Thursday’s government gazette announcing the two week ban said this was necessitated by the failure by the law enforcement agencies to guarantee security in the wake of violent demonstrations that rocked parts of the country since beginning of July this year.
“The Regulating Authority, believing on reasonable grounds that the powers conferred by Section 26 of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17) will not be sufficient to prevent public disorder being occasioned by the holding of processions or public demonstrations or any class thereof in the Harare Central Police District, hereby issues this Order, prohibiting, for a period of two weeks from Friday, the 2nd September to Friday, the 16th September, 2016, the holding of all public demonstrations in the Harare Central Police District,” read the government Gazette.
“For the avoidance old doubt it is declared that in terms of section 27(5) of the Public Order and Security Act (Chapter 11:17), any person who organises or assists in organising or takes part in or attends any procession or public demonstration held in contravention of an order under section 27(1) of the Act shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level six or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both such fine and such imprisonment.”
The ban comes after police have maintained a conspicuous presence in Harare’s CBD following riotous incidents that were experienced last week leading to the arrest of several opposition followers.
The country’s political situation remains tense as President Robert Mugabe’s government has increasingly come under pressure to resign for failed leadership.