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Banning peaceful protests criminal

RESTORATION of Human Rights (ROHR) is grappling to come to terms with the attempts by the Home Affairs ministry to deny the people their legitimate right to hold the government to account and demand transparency through peaceful protests.

It is classic dramatic irony of the most extravagant nature; only one year governing alongside Zanu PF, an MDC minister, of all people, would be party to a controversial move to withdraw a legitimate and fundamental right of the people. This, mind you, being done in the backdrop of over a decade of a protracted struggle for democracy and human rights that has claimed the lives of innocent men, women and children.

If there is anything that the MDC can do to stop this madness, is to be truthful about the situation on the ground and put pressure on their defiant partner in government, Zanu PF, to refrain from engaging in violent tendencies. Violence is a destructive force to our national brand; it stands averse to the current peace building efforts, the constitution-making process, democratic transitional reforms and the economic recovery efforts to lure investment in the country to resuscitate the economy.

As an organisation we view the unthinkable decision to ban protests ahead of the World Cup as a criminal and fraudulent attempt by the coalition government to create a misleading image of an “all is well in the house” approach in the midst of growing persecution of victims of political violence. It is regrettable that we have new incidences of violence and destruction of property around the country, particularly in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland.

In the wake of rampant allegations of a partisan police that is reluctant to guarantee the security, safety and the observance of the rule of law, it is only through protest that the voices of victims of violence can be amplified and heard as an attempt to advocate for redress.

l ROHR Zimbabwe Information Department.

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