The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe International is taking a leading role in a new initiative, a ‘peace bandwagon’, to prevent violence and make space for democracy – the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP). ZimPAP aims to train 100,000 civilian peacekeepers to overcome fear and intimidation, particularly in the rural areas, during next year’s elections. On Friday about 150 ROHR supporters staged a peace march in the centre of Chitungwiza in defiance of an unconstitutional police attempt to stop them. ROHR President Ephraim Tapa told us that the police later raided the homes of several of the organisers and ordered them to report to the police on Monday. Ephraim said the police had earlier refused to allow a peace march planned in Harare at the end of May. He said ‘this is against the constitution which stipulates that people only have to notify the police about a demonstration, not get permission. It is the police who are being lawless and we must challenge this.’
Early today we received the following press release from ROHR Zimbabwe International:
ROHR Press Release 14 June 2017
ROHR International representatives will today hand themselves over to ZRP Chitungwiza accompanied by Ms Kuzivakwashe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. The group led by Tinashe Zhakata, ROHR programmes manager, were told to report to the police just after the peaceful march on Friday 9 June. ZRP Chitungwiza refused to sanction the march citing section 25 of the Public Order Security Act (POSA). However, ROHR went on with the march as it was their constitutional right through the provisions of the constitution which stipulates that we only notify the police not ask for permission.
ROHR strongly condemn this act by the Zimbabwean police, and urges the police to respect the Zimbabwean constitution and let people exercise their rights freely. ROHR International UK chapter pledged their support and gave a clear message to ZRP that they will not rest until Zimbabwe restores human rights and dignity. ‘We will stand with our comrades in Zimbabwe until our country is free from these human rights abuses’, said ROHR President Ephraim Tapa. ‘ROHR will not be silenced by these shenanigans, We are the voice of the voiceless.’
ROHR International is facilitating a peace project known as Zimbabwe Peace Actors Platform (ZimPAP) in which 18 NGOs signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to stop and prevent violent outbreaks in the country ahead of the 2018 elections and beyond.
Latest news from Tinashe Zhalata is that he was interrogated by the police today and has been released. He has been ordered to report again tomorrow morning at 8 am with the letter from the police refusing permission for the peace march planned for the end of May.