THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Thursday 19 September 2013 defied the country’s new Constitution by breaking up a demonstration organised by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and banned a peace march organized by MDC-T youths to commemorate International Peace Day.
Zimbabwe’s new Constitution guarantees freedom to demonstrate and petition alongside freedom of assembly and association.
Police officers armed with truncheons intercepted some WOZA protestors as they marched on Parliament building in Harare to present their petition calling for improved service delivery in all of the country’s local authorities and demanding an enabling operating environment for civic society organisations.
At Parliament, the police arrested WOZA leaders Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlanguand Taurai Nyamanhindi together with freelance journalist Tawanda Karombo, who was accused of taking pictures outside Parliament building. The four were taken to Harare Central Police Station where they were detained for close to three hours.
Williams, Mahlangu and Nyamanhindi were freed without any charges preferred against them after the intervention of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member lawyer Trust Maandaof Maunga, Maanda and Associates Legal Practitioners. Karombo was also released without any charges being neither preferred against him nor recording of any statements.
Meanwhile, the ZRP has banned MDC-T youths from staging a march to commemorate International Day of Peace which will be observed on 21 September 2013.
MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore had notified the ZRP through a letter, of his party’s planned peace march scheduled for 20 September 2013.
But in response to Madzore’s letter, the ZRP turned down the notification claiming that the obtaining “environment” is not conducive for such commemorations in yet another kick in the teeth of the country’s new Constitution.
In a letter addressed to Madzore, Chief Superintendent Saunyama, the Officer Commanding Police in Harare Central District said the ZRP expects the MDC-T youths to cooperate with the police position.
International Day of Peace, which is observed around the world on 21 September each year is a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. (Source:Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rightsHRD alert).