Bank Workers Challenge ZRP Ban of Protest Against Ncube’s Austerity Measures

THE Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) on Wednesday 27 November 2019 filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order to overturn the ban of the labour union’s demonstration by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

ZRP through Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugomeri, the Officer Commanding ZRP Regulating Authority in Harare Central District, on Tuesday 26 November 2019 banned ZIBAWU from staging its demonstration in Harare scheduled for Thursday 28 November 2019 from 12:30 PM to 14:30 PM, where the labour union sought to protest and hand over a petition to Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube’s unfavourable policies and austerity measures which have brought immeasurable suffering to workers in the banking sector and the generality of workers in Zimbabwe.

ZIBAWU said workers can no longer afford to pay transport cost, decent meals, medication, rentals, school fees and other basic necessities.

But Chief Superintendent Mugomeri on Tuesday 26 November 2019 banned ZIBAWU from proceeding with its demonstration saying he could not sanction the protest because of the current “volatile” situation in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) and that the demonstration would be hijacked by some unnamed vendors, political parties and pressure groups.

Chief Superintendent Mugomeri claimed that the volume of both human and vehicle traffic in the CBD has “tremendously increased as we are already in the festive season, hence the chances that your intended demonstration will be taken advantage of by some malcontents and rogue elements are very high”.

After the ZRP ban, ZIBAWU through its lawyer Alec Muchadehama of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order to interdict ZRP or anyone acting through them or on their behalf from interfering with the bank workers’ demonstration.

In the application, ZIBAWU argued that Chief Superintendent Mugomeri has no right to ban the labour union’s demonstration as ZIBAWU is allowed to demonstrate and petition under the provisions of the Constitution particularly Section 58, which provides for freedom of assembly and association, Section 59, which guarantees freedom to demonstration and petition, Section 61, which provides for freedom of expression and Section 65 which provides for labour rights.

The labour union argued that the enjoyment of its members’ fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be prevented by the unlawful, whimsical, arbitrary and capricious actions of Chief Superintendent Mugomeri and those acting under his instructions or on his behalf.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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