News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Zimbabwe bans protests

Protests banned: Robert Mugabe Photo: Reuters

Protests have been banned in  Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe  in another attempt by the police to end demonstrations against veteran ruler President Robert Mugabe.

The police order came hours on Tuesday after a coalition of opposition parties said they would stage mass rallies across the country on Saturday to push for reform before elections due in 2018.

According to Africa Review press, anti-government campaigners vowed to defy the order and also appeal to the courts.

“These are the last kicks of a dying regime and we expected no better from them,” Douglas Mwozora, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party, told AFP.

“They have no respect for the law but we are not going to surrender our constitutional right. We are going back to the courts to challenge this illegal ban.”

An earlier protest ban in Harare was overturned by the courts last week, despite President Mugabe vowing a crackdown on dissent and blasting judges for “reckless” rulings allowing previous rallies.

In a notice in the state-run Herald newspaper, Harare police chief Newbert Saunyama said a ban would be imposed on the “holding of public demonstrations” for one month starting on Friday.

Hardlife Mudzingwa, spokesman for the pressure group Tajamuka (We are agitated), told AFP: “We will not heed this unconstitutional declaration by the police.”

President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party won the last general elections in 2013 which were marred by electoral fraud.
Opposition to President Mugabe’s 36-year reign has grown in recent months with a surge of public demonstrations, triggered by an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.

He is currently in Lusaka in Zambia to witness the inauguration of President-elect Edgar Lungu.

The 95-year-old leader arrived in Lusaka on Monday and was warmly welcomed.