Opposition parties say
#NERA demo going ahead
on Saturday

Zimbabwean opposition parties will on Saturday
hold protests throughout the country with or
without police clearance to press the election
agency for free elections in 2018, officials said,
weeks after another planned demonstration
turned violent.
Zimbabwe opposition party leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai (R), former Vice President, Joice
Mujuru (L) and convener of the National
Electroral Reform Agenda (NERA) Dydimus
Mutasa gesture during a press briefing in
Harare, August 26, 2016. Photo: Reuters/
Philimon Bulawayo
Police on August 26 fired tear gas and water
cannon at opposition leaders and hundreds of
demonstrators at an anti-government protest,
before unrest swept across large parts of the
capital Harare.
Eighteen opposition parties under the National
Election Reform Agenda (NERA) say the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is biased in
favour of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling
ZANU-PF and is run by security agents loyal to
Mugabe, charges the agency denies.
The parties want the next vote in 2018 to be
supervised by international observers, including
the United Nations and seek changes in election
laws they say hinder a free and fair vote.
“We are going ahead with the demonstration
with or without their (police) blessing. We don’t
need their permission, we have the law in our
favour, we are sure we are right,” NERA official
and Movement for Democratic Change secretary
general Douglas Mwonzora told reporters.
Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba was not
reachable for comment.
Under Zimbabwe’s security laws, protest
organisers only need to notify the police of their
plans, but law enforcement agents routinely
refuse to sanction opposition demonstrations.
Saturday’s protest will come after the High
Court last week struck down a two-week ban on
public protests that had been issued by the
police in the capital Harare.