By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, September 02, 2016 – POLICE in Mutare have banned a march which had been organised for this Friday by opposition political parties operating under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).
The march, which was set to coincide with a similar Harare march, which was also banned, was going to bring together 18 parties in an unprecedented show of unity as they plot a stronger coalition to end Zanu PF’s 36 year long rule.
The Mutare march was meant to start from Sakubva BeitHall to Chidzere Bar within the city centre.
But police informed the conveners of the march about the ban in a letter with a Wednesday date by Officer Commanding Police, Mutare Central District, Chief Superintendent Nyaradzo Mupita.
The letter was responding to a notification made on August 29 by NERA – a grouping of opposition political parties – through MDC-T provincial chairperson David Chimhini.
In refusing to clear the march, police said the march convenors had failed to file their notice within the seven day grace period stipulated by the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
“I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 29th day of August, 2016 in regard to the above subject matter,” reads the correspondence by Chief Superintendent Mupita.
“The notice given is short. It does not allow the district to make adequate preparations in respect of the resource mobilisation. The POSA Act is mandatory in respect of period notice in that it says, ‘The convener shall not later than seven days’. As the Regulatory Authority, I do not have discretional power in this instance.”
Mupita further said the current political situation in the country was not conducive for demonstrations, which she said was being fuelled by inciteful messages circulating via social and print media.
“The chosen venue is a Flea Market, temptation for theft, looting and hooliganism is rife. Police thus does not approve the demonstration,” she wrote.
The letter further cited that the route was too long and would cause a traffic jam in the city.