Vendors surprise police and defy ban on protests
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
Vendors are hearing none of government’s ban on demonstrations and on Monday staged a peaceful protest against the current economic crisis in Harare.
Sten Zvorwadza, a civil activist and leader of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) mobilised dozens of people who gathered in central Harare and urged them to ignore the ban on demonstrations.
Police last week invoked Statutory Instrument 101A of 2016 to stop protests in the capital’s central business district till 16 September.
This followed a wave of protests that turned violent when the law enforcement agency tried to stop the demonstrators.
“Protests should not be banned, and it is unconstitutional for the Zimbabwe Republic Police to ban them.
“We the citizens of this country are demonstrating against the disappearance of our money from the banks and we are saying that the government must return it,” said Zvorwadza.
Since April, Zimbabwe is suffering an acute cash shortage that has produced long queues as banks drastically reduced cash withdrawals.
He added: “So, today we are saying that there is no such a thing called the banning of demonstrations because we see it as a way by the police to try and stifle our right to demand our money which disappeared from the banks”.
There were no reported arrests relating to the Zvorwadza-led demonstration that came on the same day as political parties and civil society took to the High Court demanding a reversal of the ban that they said undermines Section 59 which gives citizens the right to demonstrate or petition peacefully.
Police have extended the ban to other parts of the country and used the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to stop a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) anniversary that the party had scheduled for 11 September in Bulawayo. Nehanda Radio