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nullifies police ban on Bulawayo Agenda public meetings
January 24, 2012
Magistrates Court has dismissed the police denial of clearance of
Bulawayo Agenda meetings in Tsholotsho and Lupane. Magistrate Tancy
Dube on Monday 23 January 2012 annulled a police ban on public meetings
organized by Bulawayo Agenda in Tsholotsho and Lupane.
had on Monday 16 January 2012 gave notification to the police regulatory
authority for Lupane District in Matabeleland North province notifying
them of the intention to hold two public meetings, whose agenda
involved giving an update to the community on the ongoing constitution
making process. The first meeting was scheduled to be held on
Sunday 22 January 2012 at DDF Training Centre in Tsholotsho with
the second one planned for 28 January 2012 at Matshabalala Hall
But on Friday
20 January 2012, two days before the first scheduled meeting, the
police advised Bulawayo Agenda that they did not approve of all
the two meetings without giving any reasons for the ban of the meetings.
Bulawayo Agenda then approached ZLHR's Lizwe Jamela to institute
an urgent court application challenging the police refusal of the
meetings as they did not state sound grounds for the prohibition.
The court has
sanctioned Bulawayo Agenda to proceed with the public meeting scheduled
for the weekend and to reschedule and convene the meeting that did
not take place on Sunday 22 January 2012 without giving any notice
to the police. Bulawayo Agenda has had its programming disrupted
raising concerns that this maybe a politically driven motive to
disturb the organization's activities, deny the organization's
right to freedom of assembly and association as set out in Section
21 of the Constitution
and the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section
20 of the Constitution.
This is also
the manifestation of continued crackdown on civil society organizations'
operations. This continued abuse of the Public
Order Security Act (POSA) has denied the people of Tsholotsho
and Lupane their right to express their views in and participate
in public processes like the constitution making process. We therefore
call upon parties in the inclusive
Government to fulfill their obligations of protecting human
rights. We believe that the long overdue legislative and institutional
reforms are more needed now than ever for the promotion of a democratic
society where there is free flow of information and exchange of
is a civic sector organization whose main mandate is to provide
a non-partisan platform for ordinary citizens to debate and dialogue
on topical issues. We believe in a democratic society in which people
and civil rights are observed.
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Agenda fact sheet
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