Demostration ban case: The state asks for more time

Demostration ban case: The state asks for more time

THE Zimbabwe High Court on Monday postponed to Wednesday the hearing of an urgent chamber application filed by a coalition of political parties seeking the nullification of a police ban on demonstrations.

Tendai Biti, who is representing the applicants, said the state asked for more time to prepare for the case.

He said: “The state lawyers are yet to file their opposing papers and have asked to be given more time to file their papers.”

Last week, ZRP’s Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, in his capacity as the Officer Commanding Harare Central District, issued the order under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and which was gazetted on 01 September banning protests in central Harare for a period of two weeks.

Government’s directive to ban protests came after a coalition of opposition political parties going under the banner the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) sought to stage the previous Friday’s demonstration which had been disrupted by the police.

This compelled NERA, the Democratic Restoration Assembly, DARE, leader of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe Stanrick Zvorwadza and the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) to file an urgent chamber application with the High Court.

NERA want the High Court to order Saunyama to continue processing and deal with all notifications for public gatherings and processions or meetings. Saunyama, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo and Attorney General Prince Machaya are cited as respondents.

At the weekend, President Robert Mugabe warned judges against granting opposition parties permission to stage demonstrations. He spoke after Justice Hlekani Mwayera had permitted a march which later turned violent as police fired teargas at protesters and their leaders.

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