Open hand salute to be banned? PIC(01-03-07)

HARARE - As government repression intensifies across Zimbabwe, the think tank of top security agencies in Zimbabwe has discussed banning the opposition MDC's popular open-hand salute as it gives political connotations to normal greetings and farewells.
Security sources confirmed

this week that the Joint Operations Command, comprising heads of Zimbabwe’s security services, including the much-feared CIO, was considering banning the open hand salute after petitions which the unit claims it received from “concerned members of the public” indicating that the open hand waving motion meant those not affiliated to the party were uncomfortable when meeting or leaving loved ones.
The opposition party launched the open hand salute on its formation in 1999 to denote openness against the clenched fist salute of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party, in power since independence in 1980. The opposition on Tuesday dismissed the plan as a “laughable” propaganda ploy more than seven years after the salute and slogans calling for change were adopted.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said this was “a desperate attempt by a beleaguered, cornered and failed regime to try to ban and disrupt the MDC. They have tried all the strategies to destroy the opposition in the past. But instead of weakening the MDC, it has actually gathered momentum and emerged stronger,” Chamisa said.

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