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Police ban on rallies and demonstrations must be ignored
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
February 22, 2007

NCA condemn in strongest terms the statement made by the police when they publicly announced that political meetings and demonstrations are banned for 3 months. Officer Commanding Mbare district, Chief Superintendent Tsitsi Sadzamari and Chief Superintendent Thomsen Jangara, Officer Commanding Harare South, came out in two separate press statements banning rallies and demonstrations on Wednesday February 22, 2007.The NCA position in regard to the partisan nature of the police is thus vindicated.

The police unashamedly blocked an MDC rally at Zimbabwe grounds and they had initially denied them permission to hold their rally. The reason given by police for the refusal is that they did not have enough manpower to provide security. Surprisingly, there was enough security to block MDC supporters from attending the rally.

All this happened despite the fact that the MDC was granted a court order by the high court to continue with their rally. If the police can defy court orders then who will be the custodians of our laws in the country? As NCA we are surprised by such blatant double standards by the police force. After successfully disturbing the MDC rally the police are now saying that they have banned political gatherings and demonstrations.

As NCA we know that we have never been allowed by the police to demonstrate and we have always done our demonstrations in defiance. We have always demonstrated for a people-driven constitution that does not allow police to restrict peopleís right to freedom of expression. Police intention to refuse people to demonstrate is reminiscent of the Smith era where political gatherings and demonstrations were banned.

The difference between Smithís era and Mugabe is that the present police have perfected the art of oppression. We want to make it clear to the police that as NCA we will not listen to partisan orders that are meant to protect a failed regime that is desperately clinging to power. The police should come out clear and declare their allegiance to Zanu-PF as it is wrong to put on two hats at the same time, attempting to confuse the whole nation. Police are still beating up innocent and suffering people in high density suburbs and this is all done under the disguise of maintaining order and peace.

As NCA we deplore such unwarranted provocation of peace and stability by the same people who are supposed to safeguard it. We note with great sadness that the police are amongst the least paid civil servants yet they spend their energy on victimizing fellow citizens who are demanding a humane life. The police must know that they are responsible for the chaos that is prevailing in Harare following their heavy handedness in dealing with a clearly sanctioned event. It must also be known that if the people decide to defend themselves from the violent police force the blame should be surely rest in the hands of the state.

As NCA we also want to inform the public that its not a crime to defend oneself from an unlawful attack and if need be they should protect themselves from a partisan violent police force that aim at perpetuating dictatorship and increasing the suffering of the ordinary masses.

As NCA we will continue to demonstrate for a new democratic and people driven constitution .We will not be threatened by the police as we are aware that they are fighting a Zanu-pf agenda that does not have anything to do with their duties.

We will continue to fight for a democratic constitution and a new governance system with a non partisan police that respect the rule of law and protect the citizenís rights. For as long as the police continue with their arrogant stance to ban demonstrations and political gatherings they will not get respect from citizens. NCA will not recognize the authority of a partisan police force and we urge all citizens to ignore such dubious orders from misguided elements of the brutal police force.

Madock Chivasa
NCA Spokesperson

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