Class action against NERA demonstrations on cards

…as more protests loom in Zimbabwe

Lovemore Lubinda

Citizens Against Violence and Anarchy (CAVAA) is inviting all flea markets, corporate, and individuals whose properties were destroyed during the recent violent demonstrations in Harare to come forward and register with the trust, with aim to claim redress.

In a notice the trust, which calls itself as a broad based organisation representing interest of wide range of stakeholders who cherish peaceful elections and prosperous Zimbabwe says everyone who lost goods as a result of the protests should approach it and register.

“We are going to launch a class action soon against organisations and individuals who operate under National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) for compensation,” read a statement.

According to CAVAA, the registration started on 9 September and is currently going on.

Meanwhile, though Zim News could not get a comment from NERA regarding CAVAA’s announcement to sue it, NERA is on record of denying alleged violent behaviour by its members, but, instead blamed state response to their peaceful demonstrations and has vowed to stay put until their demands are met.

Zim News once happened to witness one such planned protest where the unprovoked police ruthlessly attacked the gathering at civic grounds behind Rainbow Tourism Group hotel in July.

The protesters had been waiting for a court ruling to either grant permission or deny, but, the police went ahead firing teargas and unleashing water cannons on the masses causing disorder in the process. All hell went loose when the demonstrators resorted to take their war to the city centre upon realising that they were being barred from entering the grounds.

This move by CAVAA come amid calls for more protests scheduled for this week, basically by teachers, who are accusing the government of making them second fiddle to other civil servants. The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) successfully carried out peaceful protests in Bulawayo and Gokwe over the weekend voicing out their concerns, of being paid among the last batch of workers.

According to the announced pay days for civil servants the army is expected to get paid on 20 September, health workers on 23, police prisons on 27, with teachers on 3 October, this has angered the teachers.

It is also being alleged that even the weekend’s protests went on peacefully, the police and army was also deployed in the streets armed to teeth, this resulted in some protesters drawing back. There were reports saying they (police and soldiers) wielded live ammunitions, a claim the police have denied.

Commenting on the Saturday’s events MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said the government has declared war against innocent and unarmed civilians who are trying to exercise their constitutional right to engage in peaceful demonstrations.

He claimed that throughout the country, armed police and hundreds of ZANU PF thugs were deployed even in small towns specifically to harass, intimidate, and assault people who were peaceful as they demand reforms.

ZANU PF maintains that it will go on crashing demonstrations against it, as they it claim the protesters of being rowdy, violent, and engage into arson, sabotage and looting, even though NERA attribute the undesirable incidences of looting to malpractices of infiltrators who are bent on discrediting their peaceful protests.

Recently, a meeting between NERA and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failed to make any mark after ZEC allegedly roped in bogus political parties in order to dilute NERA’s concerns as decisions were to be made through voting, to which NERA responded by walking out of the process.

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