Zim Police Ban "Salarygate" Protest

Harare, March 4, 2014 – Zimbabwean police have banned a protest march organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) to demonstrate against the abuse and misuse of public resources by local authorities and some state-run institutions.

ZimRights had notified the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of its intention to stage a demonstration in central Harare to express its dissatisfaction with the manner in which public funds are being administered particularly by the Harare City Council and several state-run institutions such as the Premier Service Medical Aid Society.

Several state-run institutions and their leaders have been exposed for looting public funds and earning obscene salaries that are not commensurate with their contributions to the public institutions.

The human rights organisation had indicated that the protestors would serve a petition on Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo before calling off the demonstration.

But, the ZRP turned down the ZimRights notification arguing that the law enforcement agency was short of manpower to monitor the protestors.

“Please be advised that your notification letter has not been sanctioned due to the reason that our district have a hive of activities to attend to hence we have no enough manpower to cover the march,” reads part of the letter written  to ZimRights by Chief Superintendent Saunyama, the Officer Commanding Harare Central District.

Although Saunyama did not specify the hive of activities that the ZRP was attending to, speculation is rife that he meant that police officers were pre-occupied with mounting road blocks and providing security to visiting delegates who attended President Robert Mugabe’s daughter Bona’s wedding held in the capital Saturday and which was attended by several African leaders and businesspeople.