Residents and Business Partners Spearhead Ban on Opposition party Demonstrations

Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance party seems to have been on the wrong side as the High Court has blocked their planned demonstration today in Bulawayo. The developments came after Bulawayo residents, business community as well as churches filed an urgent chamber application to block the demonstrations.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that Movement for Democratic Change- Alliance had no rights to  go ahead with the demonstrations after the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’ Association, the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA), the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) and the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) yesterday approached the High Court seeking an order that will  prohibit the opposition party from doing  their demonstrations.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’ Association’s committee member, Mr Rodgers Hove argued that the demonstration are likely to be violent hence they were fearing for the loss of their property and business as well. He also argued that, though the opposition party had the constitutional rights to demonstrate, they  had fear that they would suffer and experience losses as they once suffered in January 14 to 16 violent protests.

“This is an urgent chamber application petitioning for the temporary prohibition of the MDC-Alliance’s intended demonstration scheduled for 19 August 2019. The applicants’ petition for temporary relief as they contend that no adequate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the first respondent’s demonstration will not occasion irreparable harm, grievous inconvenience, public endangerment, serious injury, loss of property and business.

“The MDC-Alliance seeks to occupy Bulawayo central business district for the whole day and yet they do not even address the issue of public and property safety, an issue of direct interest to the applicants. Nothing expressive is said about the potential destruction of property and likelihood of monetary loss by businesses,” he said.

Other applicants were in support of  the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’ Association, saying they  also suffered when their products were looted and destroyed during the January protests and had fear that history will repeat itself.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbawe deputy national chairperson , Mr Masimba Dzomba also express disappointment as he  mentioned that their members lost stock worth US$1 million with some of the consignment having been supplied on credit.

Justice Mabhikwa ruled that the demonstrations could not go on citing the applicants’ concerns.

“Pending the return date, the first respondent (Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance) is temporarily prohibited from carrying out and convening a public demonstration and procession in terms of the first respondent’s notice dated 8 August 2019, such notice having been issued in terms of Section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act,” ruled Justice Mabhikwa. Last week Friday, Harare High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa dismissed the opposition’s urgent chamber application to go ahead with protests.

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