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Nera parties approach courts over demo

by Staff reporter
29 Aug 2016 at 17:02hrs | Views

A grouping of political parties coalescing under the banner National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) today approaches the High Court to formally advise that their sanctioned demonstration last week failed to take off owing to police interference.

This comes after law enforcement agents brutally crashed a demonstration organised by the grouping to press for comprehensive electoral reforms ahead of the much-anticipated 2018 elections.

But Nera spokesperson Didymus Mutasa said in a statement yesterday the political parties had rescheduled the demonstration that they are tipping to be of colossal proportions to this Friday.

Mutasa added that the Nera will also be staging demonstrations countrywide on the same day.

"To this end, Nera will tomorrow formally advise the court that the sanctioned demonstration never took place as the police, in a brazen act of contempt of court, violently stopped citizens from marching on the sanctioned route," Mutasa said.

The former State Security minister, now a member of the Joice Mujuru-led opposition Zimbabwe People First party said it will be up to the judiciary to determine the fate of Home Affairs minister and the ZRP over their contempt case.

The court order that Nera obtained after police refused to clear them for the demonstration specifically barred them from obstructing or interfering with the march.

He emphasised that political parties under Nera were organisations of peace-loving Zimbabweans, saying "we mean no harm to anyone".

"We demand nothing more than being allowed our constitutional right to march and to hand over a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) so that they begin to put in place mechanisms for a truly free, fair and credible electoral process ahead of the next election.

"We also further advise that apart from the protest march in Harare, Nera structures in all provinces, cities and towns will be informing the place of similar marches in their areas on the same day.

"Zimbabweans are under no illusion that we are where we are because of the crisis of legitimacy. On Friday, the whole nation wishes to speak with one voice by peacefully demanding that the next election be truly free, fair and credible," the statement reads further.

Describing the behaviour of the police in crashing their demonstration as callous, the Nera parties argued that Zimbabweans have previously protested without incidents of violence.

"As Nera, we are heartened that the world is watching and that the United Nations has come out to say it is disturbed by the brutality of the Zimbabwe police on innocent citizens.

"The onus is on the State to exercise restraint and allow Zimbabweans to exercise their constitutional rights," the parties said.

In the aftermath of last week's crashed demonstration, police launched a crackdown during the night, firing teargas at people walking in town with unconfirmed reports that they went around beating people in bars in the city centre.

The genesis of the socio-economic and political crises the country is grappling with, the Nera parties say, was the disputed 2013 elections "that bred a government with no local and international confidence".

They argued that disputed elections remained the pressing national concern hence their demand for Zec to listen to them "so that we cure this recurring disease of illegitimacy arising out of contentious elections that breed disputed outcomes".

Source - dailynews