MDC Demo Ban Forces Halt in Protest Court Challenge

Lawyers representing some business groups, churches, and MDC, in a matter in which the main opposition was being challenged to stop its Bulawayo protest, were Sunday forced to abandon their court arguments following a ban issued by police against the Monday protest.

This is after the groups had approached court with an urgent chamber application seeking to stop the protest.

The organisations had argued the MDC protest could turn violent as was witnessed in Harare Friday.

The matter was heard before Bulawayo High Court judge Thompson Mabhikwa who felt proceeding it was improper to proceed with a matter that had been overtaken by events.

“The application has been overtaken by events,” ruled Justice Mabhikwa.

“The Prohibition Order subsequently made by police, has, in terms of the Public Order and Security Act, Chapter 11:17, the same effect as the order sought in casu and should therefore operate.”

MDC had planned a protest in the country’s second largest city as part of its nationwide protest against rising poverty levels in the country.

The protest also sought to pile pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to convene a “genuine” dialogue to remedy a fast deteriorating national crisis.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association, Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA), Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe and one Zanu PF activist, Davis Muhambi filed the urgent chamber application petitioning for the temporary prohibition of the MDC’s intended demonstrations.

“The applicants petition for temporary relief as they contend that no adequate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the 1st respondent’s demonstration/procession will not occasion irreparable harm, grievous inconvenience, public endangerment, serious injury, loss of property and loss of business,” the applicants had argued in their court papers filed by their lawyer Joel Pincus of Konson and Wolhuter Legal practitioners.

The applicants, who also cited as Respondent, the officer Commanding Bulawayo District (No) 2 and the police Commissioner-General, had also accused the MDC of causing violence during the abortive Friday demonstrations in Harare.

“The potential of the 1st respondent (MDC)’s protests turning out violent was affirmed by the demonstration the 1st respondent’s supporters carried out on the 16 of August 2019 in Harare.

“This was in spite of the fact that such a demonstration had been prohibited by the police and such prohibition affirmed by the courts,” claimed the applicants in their court papers.

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