TWO senior National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) officials were summoned and quizzed for two hours by more than 20 members of the Joint Operation Command (JOC) before they were granted permission to hold Wednesday’s demonstration in Harare.
JOC comprises top representatives from the Central Intelligent Organization (CIO), the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).
The security panel considers applications or notifications to hold public gatherings by opposition political parties, civil society organisations and NGOs in line with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Addressing opposition supporters who turned up for the NERA demonstration at Harare’s Freedom Square on Wednesday, MDC-T secretary general and NERA co-chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said they were interrogated for two hours by the security generals.
“I and Mr Mugari (one of the NERA chairpersons) were yesterday (Tuesday) quizzed by 22 Juntas who said they wanted us to clearly explain the reasons why we wanted to hold this demonstration. Not only did they want to know the reasons for the demonstration but also the number of people who were going to mobilize for the same,” said Mwonzora to a cheering crowd.
“They said that we were not supposed to mobilize a lot of people and we told them that it was unfair because we know of a political party which has held some million-men marches in Harare and elsewhere and no restrictions were ever given to that political party.”
Mwonzora said it was after they challenged JOC that they were granted permission to hold Wednesday’s demonstration with a number of conditions.