Zimbabwe Police bans protests and weapons in Harare
Following the disturbances that were triggered by the ban on demonstrations in Harare’s central business district, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has with immediate effect banned the carrying of dangerous weapons within the city’s CBD for two months until 2 December 2016.
The Officer Commanding Police Harare Central District, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, in terms of section 14 (1) of POSA issued an order banning the public from carrying weapons in Harare. The ban covers the area that was covered by the demonstrations ban announced earlier under SI 101A.
In a police stamped soft copy of the order which is in possession of Zim News superintendent Saunyama says that ZRP believes on reasonable grounds that the carrying of weapons in public may cause public disorder.
“The carrying in public whether openly or by concealment in a public place or public thoroughfare or public display of any of the following weapons or items capable of use as weapons catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, swords, knives or daggers.”
“Traditional weapon whatsoever that is likely to cause public disorder or a breach of the peace, hereby issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons in the area or any part thereof for a period not exceeding three months, that is from 2 September 2016 to 2 December 2016,” reads the order.
The demonstrations ban was however not followed as protests went on, in direct contravention with the order recently, when High Court judge Priscilla Chigumba deferred her judgement urging the lawyers to outline their points of arguments before she dismissed ban as unconstitutional and suspended it altogether, when she finally heard the matter on Wednesday 7 September 2016.
Justice Chigumba had also given the state 7 working days to rectify the defects in the publication of SI101A.
The courts’ allowing of the demos to carry on before Justice Chigumba’s ruling saw the judiciary face the wrath of President Robert Mugabe, who slammed at the judges for allowing such demonstrations against his government to happen. The president described the judges as being reckless and negligent in their action.
However, the country’s Attorney General Advocate Prince Machaya has since challenged Justice Chigumba’s judgement that declared the ban unconstitutional, and his office have filed some affidavits with the High Court backing the SI 101A.