Zimbabwe: No Joy for MDC in Masvingo As Demo Is Banned

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa (file photo).

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa's wish to lead the party in demonstrating against government failure to address the country's economic and political challenges as well as force President Emmerson Mnangagwa into dialogue with him seem to be hitting one brick-wall after another.

The latest is another prohibition order by police to attempts by the MDC to stage a protest in Masvingo. Police have already barred the MDC from staging protests in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru.

In Harare however MDC supporters stormed the capital triggering running battles with police in which dozens were injured while over a 100 people were initially reported to have been arrested. However just under 30 of them have thus far been taken to court from which only one a 15 year-old juvenile has been granted bail.

After the prohibition order against the Masvingo demonstration initially planned for Wednesday, the MDC immediately lodged an appeal with the Magistrate's Court.

It was business as usual in the country's first urban settlement with major shops and ordinary people going about their business as the MDC provincial leadership and its lawyers fought to have the ban reversed.

MDC Alliance had cited the prohibition notice as vague, speculative unreasonable and ultra vires the Constitution as it took away citizen's fundamental rights to demonstrate as enshrined in Section 59

of the country's governance charter.

However there was a heavy security presence in the town and its surrounding environs as all waited with bated breath for the court outcome which was handed down around 4pm Thursday.

Masvingo Provincial Magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa dismissed the application ruling that that MDC had breached some sections of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) when they notified the police ahead of the planned protest.

She said the right to demonstrate was not absolute as all requirements in POSA must be met.

MDC provincial James Gumbi had no kind words for the judiciary after their appeal was dismissed.

"Everything is captured. Everything is command and people have to consult first to say which direction to take or which judgment to give.

"This is consultative ruling and it is stage managed," Gumbi fumed.

Following his controversial electoral loss to President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year, Chamisa threatened to make the country ungovernable. For months the MDC leader seemed to dither but has in the past few week gathered the courage and called his supporters to action "until there is a legitimate people's government in Zimbabwe."

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