COPS in the Zimbabwe capital Harare have issued a weapons ban ahead of a street protest planned for tomorrow, state media reports.
The ban on catapults, machetes, axes and knobkerries will run for three months and is being imposed under Zimbabwe’s Public Order and Security Act, says the Heraldnewspaper.
Senior police official Jasper Chizemo was quoted as saying that the demonstrations and meetings planned for this week has made the ban necessary. This includes tomorrow’s protest march by the National Electoral Reform Agenda, which will bring together opposition supporters in Harare. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said that his party will take part in the march.
The march has been given the go-ahead by the courts.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC’s secretary general told the privately-owned Newsday that the march was partly being held in protest against the government’s decision to take the procurement of biometric voter registration kits away from the UNDP.
“For reasons best known to themselves, the government wants to abandon the UNDP process. We think that is a way to try and manipulate the procurement system,” Mwonzora was quoted as saying.
NERA Zimbabwe said on its official Twitter account Tuesday: “If u really love urself, Zim & the future b there.”
Street protests have had only a limited following in Zimbabwe for years now, mostly because they are often broken up by baton-wielding police. Would-be protesters are understandably wary about getting caught up in violence, getting arrested and then having to appeal to friends and family to find bail to secure their release. Police broke up a NERA march that was cleared by the courts last August.
The Chronicle newspaper said the weapons ban was also effective in Bulawayo and the provinces of Matabeleland North and South.