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Zimbabwean police have put breaks to a planned public protest by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Nelson Chamisa on the current economic hardships in the country scheduled for Thursday in Harare, a day before Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions march.

In a letter addressed to the MDC and signed by the Officer Commanding Harare, Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugomeri, police said, without elaborating, that the MDC’s planned protest did not meet some requirements of the Public Order and Security Act.

“The office acknowledges receipt of your notification letter on the 16th of October 2019 dated 15 October 2019 in which you intend to hold a demonstration in the C.B.D on the 42th of October 2019 from 1000 hours to 1600 hours.

“Your notification does not fulfil all the requirements of Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter 11:17 that governs notice of procession, public demonstration and public meetings.”

Mugomeri was unavailable to comment on the police move to stop the protest. It’s not clear which provisions of the law the MDC failed to follow resulting in the blanket ban.

Section 25 of the POSA reads in part, “Notice of processions, public demonstrations and public meetings … The convener shall not later than seven days before the date on which a procession or public demonstration is to be held, give notice of the procession or public demonstration in writing signed by him or her to the regulating authority for the district in which the procession or public demonstration is to be held; five days before the date on which a public meeting is to be held, give notice of the public meeting in writing signed by him or her to the regulating authority for the district in which the public meeting is to be held …”

The convener of the protest, Happymore Chidzive, who is the leader of the MDC Youth Assembly, was no reachable on his mobile phone.

MDC secretary general and Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East, Chalton Hwende, posted a message on Twitter claiming that the police have banned the planned party protest.

“Just received this letter from police which effectively bans @mdczimbabwe members from exercising their democratic right to demonstrate @ZANUPF_Official does not even notify the police. Selective application of the law is what brought targeted sanctions.”

FILE: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa,left, is congratulated by Chief Justice Luke Malaba after taking his oath during his inauguration ceremony at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly rejected proposals by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) for the country to suspend national elections for seven years and focus on rebuilding a nation with a battered economy and deteriorating human rights record.

According to the state-controlled Sunday Mail, Mnangagwa says the government is bound by the nation’s constitution, and any move to suspend elections will be unconstitutional.

He is quoted as saying the principles of good governance include a multiparty democratic political system, universal adult suffrage and equality of votes; free, fair and regular elections, orderly transfer of power following elections, respect to the rights of all political parties; observance of the separation of powers and respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom the authority to govern is derived.

“This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency… Chapter 5 of our Constitution provides for the Executive Authority of Zimbabwe which I lead as President. Section 88 (1) provides as follows: Executive authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe and must be exercised in accordance with this Constitution.”

The newspaper further quoted him saying Section 90(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe obliges him to “…. uphold, defend, obey and respect this Constitution as the supreme law of the nation … and to ensure that this Constitution and all the other laws are faithfully observed.”

Reverand Kenneth Mtata, who leads ZHOCD, was not responding to calls on his mobile phone. He told The Sunday Mail that he was too busy to comment.

Mtata’s ZHCOD wrote a letter to Mnangagwa in which they requested that the nation should take a Sabbath period of seven years from all forms of political contestation.

In that period all political parties were expected to work hand in hand to revive the Zimbabwe economy and engage in common goals for the benefit of the nation.

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