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Police block planned Alex Magaisa candlelight memorial in Harare

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have banned citizens from holding a candlelight commemoration of the late academic, Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa, in the Harare Gardens this Saturday.

Heal Zimbabwe had written to the police notifying them of the plan to hold the event in honour of the citizens’ hero.

But in a letter dated 9 June 2022, the Officer Commanding Harare Central District Superintendent G Moyo advised Heal Zimbabwe that he would not sanction the event saying the organisers did not comply with provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order.

“Your notification letter dated 9 June 2022 to hold a candle lighting commemoration of Dr Alex Magaisa on the 11th of June 2022 at Harare Gardens from 1200 hours to 1500 hours has been noted,” read the letter.

“I am not in a position to sanction the gathering. You did not comply with Section 7 (1) (a) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Chapter 11:23.

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Magaisa passed away last Sunday at Margate Hospital in the United Kingdom after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The former advisor to late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai worked at the University of Warwick, the University of Nottingham and since 2007, he was based at Kent Law School, the University of Kent at the time of his death on 5 June 2022.

Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change interim Secretary General Chalton Hwende urged the deceased’s friends and admirers to defy the police ban and go ahead with their programme. He accused the law enforcement agents of abusing the law.

“These kinds of letters must always be ignored. This paper can not suspend our Constitutional rights. The law is being abused to sustain the Zanu-PF regime. We must proceed with the candle lighting commemoration and let the oppressors have the burden of arresting and beating us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Magaisa’s family has made arrangements to allow friends, colleagues and well-wishers to express their condolences to Alex’s family at a gathering to be held in his honour at 1200pm on Saturday, 11th June at the University of Kent.

According to a communique, the “service will also be broadcast online to benefit those far and wide and those not able to attend physically.

“Looking forward to seeing you all and sharing a moment to celebrate Musaigwa’s remarkable life.”