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MDC Alliance, exercise your rights, don't violate mine

by Lloyd Msipa
12 Jul 2018 at 14:35hrs | Views
THE right to freedom of expression, like several other rights we enjoy, is enshrined in our Constitution. It is an important right and should always be protected. The right to freedom of expression confers on every citizen, rich, poor and whatever race, the right to freely express his/her opinion on any matter that he/she believes he/she should comment on, WRITES Lloyd Msipa.

In addition to freedom of expression, our constitution also gives us the right to freely assemble with whomever we wish to assemble with. This is known as freedom of association. We are also entitled to freedom of movement, that is to say the right to move about the country in all public spaces, meaning roads, highways, streets and anywhere that is not private property. We are entitled to move about in these spaces once we comply with the law.

Zimbabweans and political party functionaries, including but not limited to the MDC Alliance exercise these rights provided for in the constitution and this is all a sign of a healthy democracy. However, in exercising our rights we should always bear in mind that we are not entitled to so exercise our rights that we deny other's citizens their rights our abuse the rights of other citizens in the process of enjoying our rights.

Yesterday during the MDC Alliance demonstration against ZEC, we saw over and over again instances where people demonstrating, whether for a just cause or not, conduct their demonstrations in a way that violates the rights of other citizens. Perhaps the time has come for the Government, the Opposition, the police and civil society to agree on certain basic principles that should be adhered to during demonstrations. When demonstrators call public officials like the ZEC Chairperson Amai Chigumba ‘hure, hure, when demonstrating, violates her rights to be treated with dignity.

Not too long ago, there was a demonstration at the High Court where MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe was called the same names hure, hure, hure.

This goes to show the low opinion that MDC Alliance hold of women. It also means that the apology offered by Chamisa at that time was not sincere. In essence, It follows that these demonstrators abused the rights of fellow citizens as they sought to enjoy their rights.

No citizen is entitled to more rights than another citizen. We are all equal before the law and we should all accept this equality of status. We are approaching the period leading up to a general election. It is highly likely that there will be demonstrations over just about anything. Let us be mindful that in you exercising your rights; don't violate mine