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Zimbabwe:Opposition MDC to Challenge Ban

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it intends to challenge the three-month ban on political activities in the capital, which was imposed Wednesday by the police. The party also said it will sue the government for damages for police brutality against its supporters during last Sundays protest march.

Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for the MDC. He said the party is considering some tactics to confront the government.

“We have indicated that we are going to pursue strategies and also a series of tactics to make sure that we neutralize what we believe to be serious agenda to turn into fascism and dictatorship by the government. And of course among the various areas of strategies we are going to employ include the legal route and of course the political route,” he said.

Chamisa said the party is propagating its message to the masses for their participation in the activities of the party.

“We are also critically articulating our view point to the people of Zimbabwe in terms of also mass participation. In terms of our response to the ban on rallies demonstrations and any gathering,” Chamisa noted.

He said the party’s move to challenge in court the ban would yield positive results.

“Of course we are really considering that things are going to be done above the board. But we are also cognizant and quite aware of the challenges that are associated with the legal route in this country. The legal route is fraught with a lot of impediments a lot of landmines that may detonate along the way. But we are using this legal route to augment our political argument that there is no rule of law in this country,” Chamisa said.

He said if the government refused to listen to the courts ruling, that would galvanize supporters of the party.

“We know that if they are going to disobey the decisions and orders of the court that would of course catalyze our political agenda to make sure that Zimbabweans come together to rescue the country and to restore their dignity,” he said.

Chamisa said the party’s lawyers would in a few days be filing a case in court to challenge the ban.

"Our legal team is working 24/7 to make sure that the papers are filed in the court. We are also in terms of the political structures; the teams are also working round the clock to make sure that we are able to before the end of the week deal with all these other possible remedies so that we see what is possible and what is not,” he said.

Chamisa denied that the police used minimal force as being speculated.

“In a dictatorship anything can be subjectively defined as a minimum force. But if you look at the force that was used against the ordinary unarmed civilians, it was clearly a maximum force…in any case the police are the ones that provoked the people and we hold them accountable for the violence that ensued,” he said.

Chamisa reiterated the call for what he calls the hands behind the violence to be punished.

“As far as we are concerned, we want all the politicians who were involved in the unfortunate incident to be answerable for the damages, to be answerable for the cost incurred by Zimbabweans, by the MDC, individually and also collectively as a party,” he said.