Mujuru’s Matebeleland rally postponed

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The Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party which is challenging police refusal to sanction their Ntabazinduna rally was forced to cancel the rally which was scheduled for yesterday after a High Court judge set down the hearing for Tuesday.

ZimPF filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging a decision by police not to sanction its rally.

The matter will be heard before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo.

The party sought an order interdicting police from interfering with its rally at Ntabazinduna Council Hall. The rally was supposed to run from 10AM until 4PM yesterday.

Police, in response to a notification letter by ZimPF, said the rally coincided with a workshop taking place at Ntabazinduna Council Hall in Mbembesi between 9 and 11 September.  In its application through lawyers Hamunakwadi and Nyandoro Law Chambers, ZimPF cited Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the officer commanding police in Nkayi District as the respondents.

Max Mnkandla, who is ZimPF’s provincial chairman for Matabeleland North, in his founding affidavit, said the respondents’ decision was a violation of the fundamental rights of the party membership to assemble and associate.

ZimPF informed the police of the planned rally on September 3, but they did not sanction it citing lack of manpower to provide adequate security due to an ongoing operation in Nkayi district.

Police are the regulating authority in terms of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Mnkandla argued that the reasons given by police were mala fide and lacked merit. “The reasons smack of hypocrisy and malice and clearly border on the unconstitutional denial of applicant’s membership of their right of freedom of association and assembly,” he said.

Mnkandla said police did not afford them an opportunity to make representations in the matter since they were organisers of the gathering. He said his party incurred a loss of $30 000 in rally logistical preparations.

Meanwhile, ZimPF senior leader Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire later informed a handful of supporters who had gathered outside the venue shortly after 3PM of the postponement of the rally to a later date.

The rally according to insiders was more of a fire fighting mission to try and bring together warring members from Matabeleland North province.

“There is a tussle between Mr Mnkandla and his group and another official called Mathambo from Bubi. There are counter accusations between the two groups of being power hungry so (Dr) Mujuru wanted to come and douse those flames,” said an insider.

However, Mr Mavhaire said the Gwanda rally scheduled for today would go ahead after police cleared it.

In a related development, Dr Mujuru reportedly addressed a secret meeting at a house in Bulawayo’s eastern suburbs.

According to sources, Dr Mujuru, who served as Vice-President for 10 years after occupying various posts in the government since Independence in 1980, asked the people in attendance to tell her of problems affecting their respective areas of origin. “She was asking of the problems affecting the people in their respective areas arguing that President Mugabe was the one leading the country when she was in government and not her,” said a source.

Source – chronicle

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