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presents petition to the South African Embassy
September 02, 2004
POLICE in Zimbabwe
have thwarted two demonstrations which the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) had planned to stage in Harare
but the civic organisation managed to petition the South African
Embassy asking Pretoria to intervene in the political turmoil in
delegation led by the NCA's advocacy chairperson George Mkhwanazi
handed a petition to the South African embassy before the police
dispersed the group which had gathered outside the embassy building.
for an open democracy in Zimbabwe would very much benefit from the
support of the South African government," reads part of the petition
signed by the NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku. "We seek your support
in our quest to for a more open and tolerant society.
that President Mugabe will change his oppressive approach if he
were approached by the South African government in a frank and honest
manner. Zimbabweans therefore seek the support of South African
government and that of the rest of the SADC governments in our struggle
against such oppressive laws as our constitution, POSA,
and the proposed NGO Bill."
at the embassy confirmed that Jeremiah Ndou, the South Africa ambassador
to Zimbabwe had received the petition.
"I have not
read the petition but the ambassador met the NCA delegation;" he
said. Ndou could not be reached for comment.
As the five
member delegation was moving out of the South Africa embassy building
police in plain clothes from the PISI section led by notorious Percy
Ndowo asked everyone who was milling around to disperse serve for
journalists after they had produced their accreditation cards. It
was a sad day for those who wanted to apply for South African visas.
Even the journalists were asked who had informed them of the demonstrations.
After that the
NCA group numbering about 400 caught the police force with its pants
down and gathered at the main Post Office were they clashed with
the police leaving seven people seriously injured and 32 arrested.
Police was waiting for the NCA to gather at the Parliament Building
as it had advertised in the Press.
were (are) being attended to at a private clinic. While those arrested
are yet to be located were they were taken to.
"We have been
to the Harare Central Police Station but not even one of them is
there," said Jessi Majome, the NCA spokesperson. "We will have a
post mortem of today's activities and we will see what to do next.
But I am sure the message was loud and clear: we need democracy.
"We were happy that Ndou gave us an audience."
But as to whether
Mugabe's regime had the message is another question. The regime
has recently said it will not struck down the NGO Bill or repeal
POSA and AIPPA.
Those who demonstrated
had placards written: "Repeal POSA and AIPPA," "NGO Bill is Anti-NGOs
and "Struck Off the NGO Bill."
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