Zimbabwe: Allow public demonstrations as per court ruling

The government of Zimbabwe must respect a court ruling overturning the ban on protests in the country, Amnesty International said today, as the High Court issued its verdict allowing public demonstrations.

Today’s High court decision is a victory for Zimbabwe’s constitutional principles.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa

“Today’s High court decision is a victory for Zimbabwe’s constitutional principles. It sends a clear message to the authorities that the right to protest, as enshrined in the country’s constitution, cannot just be stripped away by the state on a whim,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

“Zimbabwe’s authorities must respect and obey today’s ruling and allow people to assemble and raise their grievances, as long as they are doing it within the confines of the laws that govern public protests.”

It sends a clear message to the authorities that the right to protest, as enshrined in the country’s constitution, cannot just be stripped away by the state on a whim.
Deprose Muchena

Today’s ruling comes after President Robert Mugabe publicly threatened the country’s judges on 3 September accusing them of being reckless by allowing demonstrations in the country.

Background

The Zimbabwe government imposed a ban on protests in the country’s capital Harare on 1 September 2016, under the Public Order and Security Act for a period of two weeks.

The ban was imposed amid an escalation in protests in the country over stalled electoral reforms and the declining economy.

The ban was announced the day before opposition parties were due to hold an anti-government demonstration on 2 September 2016.