The Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday invoked the Public Order and Security Act and imposed a ban on carrying of dangerous weapons in public for the next three months in Harare Central District and Gwanda District in Matabeleland South, respectively. The decision by the police, which is the regulatory authority, was issued in terms of POSA following planned demonstrations by opposition political parties tomorrow and a meeting by some rogue war veterans.
The High Court has since okayed the meetings after the police had sought to stop them. But in separate prohibition orders yesterday, the police banned the carrying of weapons in Harare Central District and Gwanda District, saying they were likely to occasion public disorder or breach of peace and might also be used to commit serious crimes like unlawful entry.
Officer Commanding Harare Central District Chief Superintendent Jasper Chizemo banned carrying of weapons like catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, knives, swords, daggers or any traditional weapons likely to cause disorder and breach of peace.
Chief Supt Chizemo said the prohibition order was in terms of Section 14(1) of POSA (Chapter 11:17) and said he did so because he believed that carrying in public place or public thoroughfare or public display was likely to cause disorder.
“The belief is informed by the notification for public demonstrations lined up in my district of jurisdiction on March 22 2017, March 23 2017 and March 25 2017, I hereby issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons within my district for three months, that is from March 22 to June 22 2017,” reads the notice by Chief Supt Chizemo.
Last week, High Court judge, Justice Alfas Chitakunye allowed some war veterans led by Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa to proceed with their meeting on Thursday without impediment.
In another case, the High Court allowed a demonstration by opposition political parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) banner to proceed.
Nera wants to protest Government’s decision to procure biometric voter registration kits without the involvement of the United Nations Development Programme.
In Matabeleland South, the prohibition order was issued by acting officer Commanding Police in Gwanda Superintendent Stephen Mutema and is set to run until June 15 2017.
“I hereby declare and issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons in Gwanda District for a period not exceeding three months from March 15 to June 15, 2017,” he said.
Supt Mutema said the order has been necessitated by an increase in assault, murder and robbery cases mostly committed by illegal gold panners and at drinking places.
“Our statistics chart indicates assault as the most dominant crime committed within our province and this has become a cause for concern to us as a security force.
Supt Mutema said during the period, police will intensify random stop-and-search operations and those found in possession of banned weapons will be arrested. — Herald/Chronicle Reporters.