Marange villagers take police head-on

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CHIADZWA villagers and civil society organisations (CSOs) have sued the police for banning a planned demonstration against the looting of diamonds and human rights abuses perpetrated by State security agents in Marange.

The villagers filed a lawsuit through Chiadzwa Community Development Trust chairperson Newman Chiadzwa at Mutare Magistrates Courts last Thursday seeking an interdict against the police on the planned demonstration.

Chiadzwa is being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, while Xavier Chipato is the presiding magistrate on the matter.

Mutare Police Rural, cited as the first respondent, banned the demonstration, which was slated for November 15, 2022.

Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe are the second and third respondents, respectively.

In his founding affidavit, Chiadzwa said the demonstration was organised by him and eight CSOs.

“I wish to state that it cannot be gainsaid that there is a clear impression that the first respondent seeks to prevent me from holding the intended demonstration together with other participants. The reasons put forward by the first respondent to prohibit the intended demonstration are not cogent and are clear misinterpretations and misapplication of the law.

“I must point out that I only desire to enjoy the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution and peacefully so. I further wish to highlight that section 10(1(c) of the Maintenance of Order and Peace Act relied upon by the first respondent cannot be read in isolation. I submit that I have no other alternative remedy available to me apart from approaching this honourable court and have respondents interdicted from interfering with intended demonstrations,” part of the lawsuit read.

The matter is set to be heard this week in Mutare, where the police is expected to file its heads of argument.

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