WALPE challenge ZRP’s ban of electoral reforms march

HARARE Magistrate Noah Gwatidzo will on Tuesday 28 January 2020
preside over the hearing of an application filed by Women’s Academy
for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) seeking to overturn a
ban of their march scheduled for Wednesday 29 January 2020 by Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP)’s officers.

WALPE through its Programmes Co-ordinator Varaidzo Zhou had notified
Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugomeri, the ZRP Officer Commanding Harare
Central District of her organisation’s intention to stage a public
procession in Harare, which would culminate in 500 women petitioning
Parliament demanding implementation of electoral reforms to guarantee
full and effective participation of women in electoral processes as
candidates and as voters.

But in a letter addressed to Zhou, Chief Superintendent Mugomeri
banned WALPE’s march on the basis that the organisation’s Executive
Director Stabile Dewah, who is currently facing charges of plotting to
overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, could “take
advantage” of the event to “further” her “agenda”, which Chief
Superintendent Mugomeri did not elaborate.

Chief Superintendent Mugomeri said WALPE can only send some
representatives to hand over its petition to the Clerk of Parliament
rather than marching in the capital.
Incensed by Chief Superintendent Mugomeri’s response, WALPE then
engaged the services of Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, who filed an application at Harare (Civil) Magistrates Court
seeking to overturn the ZRP’s ban of the women’s march.

Magistrate Gwatidzo will preside over the determination of WALPE’s
application Tuesday afternoon.