ZRP Fumes Over Unsanctioned Public Church Gatherings, Warns Citizens to Stay Away

The warning arrived after civic organisation United Citizens Alliance Youth Director Tawanda Kalonga announced that they would hold a prayer meeting at the Harare Gardens on Friday.

Police Fumes Over Unsanctioned Public Church Gatherings, Warns Citizens to Stay Out
ZRP Patrolling in the Harare CBD/Image from The Zimbabwe Independent

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has issued a public statement, warning citizens to desist from partaking in what they termed unsanctioned politically inclined activities under the guise of church prayers in public places.

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The force posted the statement in its official Twitter on Friday morning;

“It has come to the attention of the Zimbabwe Republic Police that there are some individuals who are mobilising people to gather at certain public places without notifying the respective Regulating Authority in terms of section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act (Chap 11:17)

“That notification allows police to make security considerations such that there is minimal interference with the rights of those who do not want to be part of such gatherings. We are therefore appealing to members of the public not to participate in unsanctioned gatherings which in most cases result in malicious damage to property, looting of property, interference with normal of flow of traffic in central business districts and resultantly disturbs the maintenance of law and order by the police.

“Members of the public should not be hoodwinked into participating in politically inclined activities under the guise of church prayers in public places. In the same breath those who are planning and mobilising people to participate in unlawful gatherings are being warned to desist from such acts and comply with the law.

“Anybody found on the wrong side of the law will be arrested and dealt with according to the laws of the country.”

The warning arrived after civic organisation United Citizens Alliance Youth Director Tawanda Kalonga announced that they would hold a prayer meeting at the Harare Gardens on Friday.

Speaking at the Mass Movement (MaM) Press Conference on Thursday afternoon at Media Centre in Harare where the church and civic society jointly released a statement, demanding judiciary independence in the pending Constitutional Court Case where the MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is challenging the July 30 presidential election which gave incumbent President E.D. Mnangagwa a 50, 8 percent of the overall votes, Kalonga said:

“From 10 am to 2 pm we are going to have a prayer for the country and some solidarity messages from the citizens and from the church. So you’re all welcome.”

On Friday the ZRP deployed its huge number of patrol units at the Harare Gardens in a move interpreted by many as a means to thwart the worship meeting.

Citizens quickly took it to twitter.

One user named Tino Mabwe tweeted: “Heavy police presence in Hre Gardens where churches are supposed to hold a prayer meeting this afternoon. How did we turn ourselves into this honestly? Pachanamatika ipapa?”

 


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