Police bar protest march in Mutare

Residents in Mutare have been barred by the police from protesting against the unilateral suspension of Mayor Brian James.

Brian James
Brian James

The police said it was’ improper’ to stage a demonstration ahead of Robert Mugabe’s 21st February Birthday celebrations.

Members of the Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association had last week applied to the police for permission to stage a peaceful demonstration in the city centre and march to the civic centre to express dismay over James’ ouster.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo last month suspended James from the Mutare council citing alleged misconduct. But it is widely believed he was suspended as he wanted an investigation into financial mismanagement and alleged fraud amongst councillors.

David Mukunda, the organising secretary of the Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association, is quoted by the media saying police denied them permission to demonstrate on Thursday.

Police accused the residents association of being used by James and his ‘white community counterparts.’ Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC-T spokesman for Manicaland confirmed the ban and promised to issue a full statement by Friday.

‘What I can say now is yes, we have been told the protest has been banned, but we will sit as a party and decide what course of action to take,’ Muchauraya said.

The Residents in Mutare had also petitioned the MDC-T to explain the suspension of the Mayor by Chombo. James was elected councillor for ward 12 of the eastern border city on an MDC-T ticket and was subsequently chosen as Mayor by the councilors, following the 2008 harmonized elections.

But two weeks ago he was suspended by Chombo for alleged misconduct. The MDC-T described the suspension as ‘ridiculous’ and threatened to disregard Chombo’s action.

Muchauraya reiterated that that James was suspended for fighting corruption and that over 20,000 people in Mutare have since signed a petition calling for his reinstatement. SW Radio Africa

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *