Continued disregard of court orders by police worrying
Heal Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms the disruption of an MDC-T Provincial rally by riot police in Zvishavane today that was supposed to be addressed by MDC-T Vice President Honourable Nelson Chamisa.This was despite the fact there was a court order granting the MDC-T permission to hold the rally. The rally was supposed to take place at an open space that is adjacent to Gweru bus terminus.
MDC-T supporters had gathered at the open space when riot police invaded the venue and pulled down the tent and ordered the people to disperse arguing that the rally was not sanctioned by the police. The police argued that they had turned down the application by the MDC-T to have the rally on the day. The police were not even deterred when Honourable Chamisa produced a court order that sanctioned the rally to take place. The police remained adamant and continued harassing, and provoking supporters who had come in their numbers for the rally. It is at this point that police fired tear smoke to disperse supporters. This provocation by the police then led to running battles between the police and supporters.
The running battles spread into Zvishavane central business district with ordinary citizens who were going about their businesses getting caught up in the melee. Several shops closed as Zvishavane was locked down with police chasing after supporters and firing tear smoke. Speaking from Zvishavane, Honourable Chamisa confirmed that seven MDC-T supporters were arrested by riot police during the running battles.
Heal Zimbabwe notes that such continued disregard of the constitution by the police who constitutionally are supposed to enforce the law without fear and favour is regrettable. Heal Zimbabwe has been on record advocating for the establishment of an Independent complaints Mechanism provided for in Section 210 of the constitution, that allows members of the public report misconduct on the part of security services. Heal Zimbabwe implores the police to uphold the constitution, respect and enforce the law without fear or favour.