Planned protests organiser arrested  

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THE leader of Transform Zimbabwe and also the main organiser of the planned July 31 mass demonstrations, Jacob Ngarivhume, was arrested yesterday.
This comes as the government had warned opposition and civil society groups behind the planned protests that they would be treated like terrorists, and likely end up being jailed.
It also comes after Ngarivhume last week vowed that the protests would go ahead with or without police clearance.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed Ngarivhume’s arrest yesterday allegedly for transgressing provisions of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
He said Ngarivhume was in police custody and would appear in court soon.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Daily News at the weekend that authorities would use security forces and the courts to deal with the protesters.
“If you look at the Public Health Act that was used by the president to pronounce a state of public emergency … once that is declared it means certain fundamental rights will be limited in that regard.
“It’s a justifiable limitation of a right. Now you find certain individuals … pursuing their agenda of demonstrating in the middle of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“If you try to analyse that thinking, you then realise that the agenda is to make sure that our people die … and hence it is something that cannot be tolerated,” Ziyambi said.
“Any lawful government worth its salt will not condone such behaviour. It’s a complete no, no … and nobody will be allowed to go into the streets to infect others.
“We believe that it’s uncalled for and that there is a hidden hand to ensure that Zimbabweans die and we will make sure all the security agents and even the courts deal with it.
“We will ensure that courts are there to deal with violators of Covid-19 regulations, that they are prosecuted and sent to jail,” Ziyambi added.
“Going forward you will hear the president making pronouncements, but our security forces … are on high alert to ensure that any terrorist activity will be dealt with accordingly.
“Anyone who goes into the streets against that advice is equivalent to a terrorist … so that we can deal with them accordingly.
“All information has been put in the public domain to say that this pandemic is serious … Anyone who then disregards those regulations and exposes people to danger in that manner I don’t see any reason why we cannot find a law that we can use in terms of terrorism activity to deal with those individuals,” Ziyambi also said.
Ngarivhume claimed last week that Zimbabweans were ready to take to the streets to demonstrate against graft and the country’s tanking economy.
“The momentum that has been gathered, as well as the buy-in from Zimbabweans, is so overwhelming that nobody — not even the police or the convener — can stop it.
“The decision to demonstrate was reached while we were already under lockdown. So, there is no going back.
“We are not going to let go if we don’t get the result we want. So, let it be known that it is not going to be business as usual. This is not one of those demonstrations that have been held where people march and go back home.
“This one is going to mark the turning point for this country. It is a defining moment. We, therefore, do not expect the police to interfere with the demonstration because we have notified them,” Ngarivhume said.

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