In a letter addressed to the MDC and signed by the Officer Commanding Harare, Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugomeri, police said, without elaborating, that the MDC’s planned protest did not meet some requirements of the Public Order and Security Act.
“The office acknowledges receipt of your notification letter on the 16th of October 2019 dated 15 October 2019 in which you intend to hold a demonstration in the C.B.D on the 42th of October 2019 from 1000 hours to 1600 hours.
“Your notification does not fulfil all the requirements of Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter 11:17 that governs notice of procession, public demonstration and public meetings.”
Mugomeri was unavailable to comment on the police move to stop the protest. It’s not clear which provisions of the law the MDC failed to follow resulting in the blanket ban.
Section 25 of the POSA reads in part, “Notice of processions, public demonstrations and public meetings … The convener shall not later than seven days before the date on which a procession or public demonstration is to be held, give notice of the procession or public demonstration in writing signed by him or her to the regulating authority for the district in which the procession or public demonstration is to be held; five days before the date on which a public meeting is to be held, give notice of the public meeting in writing signed by him or her to the regulating authority for the district in which the public meeting is to be held …”
The convener of the protest, Happymore Chidzive, who is the leader of the MDC Youth Assembly, was no reachable on his mobile phone.
MDC secretary general and Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East, Chalton Hwende, posted a message on Twitter claiming that the police have banned the planned party protest.
“Just received this letter from police which effectively bans @mdczimbabwe members from exercising their democratic right to demonstrate @ZANUPF_Official does not even notify the police. Selective application of the law is what brought targeted sanctions.”