ZLHR challenges ZRP’s prohibition of CiCZ’s public procession

A coalition of non-governmental organisations has hauled the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to court seeking an order to stop the law enforcement agency from interfering with a demonstration to be held on Thursday 05 April 2018.

Police officers patrol at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices in the capital as Zimbabwe’s main opposition parties demonstrate in support of free and fair elections to be monitored by international bodies on 22 March 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Picture: AFP

The ZRP had through Chief Superintendent Ncube, the Officer Commanding Harare Central District,
barred CiZC from marching from the central business district to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, where the coalition intends to hand over a petition to the election management body and to Parliament, demanding the speedy implementation of electoral reforms.

In a letter written to CiZC Acting Director Thulani Mswelanto, Chief Superintendent Ncube said CiZC
should shelve the march because “violations of other road users’ freedoms are highly likely during the
march” and that the flow of traffic along the proposed route will be “highly disturbed”.

Chief Superintendent Ncube said CiZC could only gather at Africa Unity Square from 1000hrs to 1200hrs from where the civil society organisation can then hand over its petition to Parliament.

This prompted CiZC to engage its lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who filed an
exparte application at Harare Magistrates Court, which will be heard early on Thursday 05 April 2018.
In the application filed on Wednesday 04 April 2018, human rights lawyer Noble Chinhanu of ZLHR,
argued that the conditions and amendments set by Chief Superintendent Ncube of confining the
protesters to Africa Unity Square only, takes away the right of CiZC to hold a procession.

Chinhanu argued that the decision by Chief Superintendent Ncube was made without inviting CiZC
representatives to a consultative meeting to explore options to prevent any threat if any and to allow the coalition to make representations.

Chinhanu wants the court to set aside the order prohibiting the public procession and interdict Ncube and his agents from disturbing or interfering in any way with the public demonstration and procession.
The human rights lawyer also wants the court to declare Ncube’s actions as unlawful and unconstitutional.

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