Bulawayo police use Mugabe’s birthday to ban MDC-T workshop

Police in Bulawayo are reportedly refusing to grant the MDC-T permission to hold a workshop next weekend, saying that the nation will be preparing for Robert Mugabe’s birthday, which is the week after.


SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the party has organized a capacity building workshop, to educate their members about the various roles played by officers in their structures.

The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, February 11 and Mugabe’s birthday falls on February 21, ten days later. But police have informed the MDC-T that the date “clashes” with celebrations for Mugabe’s birthday and they do not have enough manpower.

“In fact if you look at POSA it says organizations should notify. So the police have no right to deny them,” Saungweme said. The Public Order and Security Act Saungweme referred to does not require organizations to seek permission from the police. They are simply required to notify them.

But police have been abusing the law, disrupting public and private events organized by anyone considered an “enemy of the state” and making arrests. The MDC-T have been targeted the most by the police. Several rallies were banned at the very last minute and organizers were harassed.

Saungweme said the MDC-T organizers have not given up on holding their workshop at the weekend. After being denied by police at Southampton, Bulawayo, they approached other police stations in the area with the same results.

“It appears that an order has been given verbally there will be no workshop,” our correspondent said. According to Saungweme, the organizers have vowed to continue with plans for the workshop as it is not being held on the same weekend as Mugabe’s birthday. He said the organizers plan to go back to the police and “keep pressing ahead”. – SW Radio Africa News

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