Police raise ‘terrorism
fears’

POLICE have claimed that the country
was under threat of terror attacks,
hence, a decision to ban demonstrations
and political rallies to ensure terrorists
do not take advantage of the volatile
situation to create anarchy.
BY SILAS NKALA
After banning demonstrations in Harare
last week, police now say they fear a
full-scale war could break out in the
country due to messages circulating on
social media and could not allow political
rallies in other urban centres in light of
the threats.
“Serious threats have been received from
various pressure groups through social
media inciting people to declare a full war
in Zimbabwe starting on September 2, to
destroy all police properties, to destroy
all roadblocks with fire, to blow up
allgovernment vehicles and buildings,
attack all members of the prison services
and release all prisoners in jail, seize
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority by force,
shut down all major shops until
government changes, prevent all airlines
from landing and taking off, allow bus
operators to operate at their risk and to
blow up all Zupco buses and ambulances,”
the police wrote in a letter banning the
People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s first
anniversary rally.
PDP had notified the police of its
intention to hold a rally to mark its first
anniversary, but the police said they
could not allow it, as they were stretched
in trying to prevent full-scale war and
terror.
“We do not take these threats lightly and
we have remained on high alert since
September 1, a situation that has
strained our resource utilisation,”
officer commanding Bulawayo West
district police, Chief Superintendent
Mthokozisi Manzini Moyo, wrote to the
party in a letter yesterday.
“We advise that your intended event be
delayed up to such a time when security
threats levels reduce to normal. In this
regard, I invoke the provisions of section
26(9) of the Public Order and Security Act
Chapter 11:17.”
He said information reaching his office
indicated that the opposition party’s
planned event might be compromised.
PDP’s anniversary rally was scheduled for
White City in Bulawayo on Sunday, but
has become the latest casualty of the
prohibitions.
The police claimed the ban follows reports
of terrorism threats circulated on social
media platforms.
PDP Bulawayo provincial spokesperson,
Edwin Ndlovu, described the ban as
ridiculous.
“It is very ridiculous for the police to act
in the manner they have acted. Ours is
just an anniversary celebration, which
has nothing to do with the said
allegations,” he said.
“All these accusations do not hold water
and are ridiculous, to say the least. We
are appealing against this unilateralism.
For the avoidance of doubt, our
celebrations are going ahead, whichever
way, come Sunday. Zimbabwe is not a
police State and we frown at this
behaviour by the police.”
PDP said its legal team was preparing a
court challenge to the ban, which comes a
few days after police in Harare prohibited
protest marches in the central business
district until September 16 under
Statutory Instrument 101a. The provision
is currently being challenged at the High
Court, with PDP leader, Tendai Biti
representing the applicants.