Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has vowed to press ahead with their planned Independence Day commemoration march, Sunday, despite a police ban over concerns it was against Covid-19 regulations.
MPR intend to march from the Bulawayo City Hall Car Park to Enxwaleni Grounds, via the Joshua Nkomo statue from 9.30 am to 11.30 am.
But the police banned the gathering saying it did not satisfy the requirements of the Maintenance of Order and Peace (MOPA) Act and it was not exempted under Covid-19 restrictions.
“Your notification does not meet the requirements of the MOPA Chapter 11.23. Gatherings and processions of such magnitude are not exempted under Covid-19 regulations. It is from this background that your notification is not recommended,” read the response police signed by Chief Superintendent, Never Tembo from the Bulawayo Central District.
The letter was addressed to MRP Bulawayo Provincial Chairperson, Bioz Makhalima.
But MRP said it would defy the ban and go ahead with the march while police are now on high alert across the city centre .
“In response, we have as a Party resolved that the Commemoration should go ahead according to plan. It should be clear that police did not ban the march, but only suggested that it is not recommended. We acknowledge and appreciate their response and, if by saying that they don’t recommend the march, they imply that they are banning it, then what they intend to do is illegal,” said the party’s information desk.
MRP claimed the police’s logic of not recommending the march would be defied.
“The law requires that police be notified of the intention, which is what we have done. We now officially invite them to participate with us,” said the party.
“Sections 58 to 61 of the country’s Constitution are very clear concerning our right to freedom of expression, association, congregating, protesting and petitioning. It is on the basis of this knowledge that a conclusion that the Commemoration March should go ahead is drawn.”
MRP said people cannot pretend to be happy with Independence Day, as what was obtained on the ground was a different scenario.
“We can’t pretend that we are independent when our people are languishing in remand prison for no apparent reason, when 40 000 of our people perished during Gukurahundi genocide in 1983 to 1987 and have not been compensated. Neither has the responsible government acknowledged it, let alone allowing genuine public discussion on the issue, or at least correct history,” said the party.
“We can’t celebrate the so-called Independence day when we are still regarded as second class citizens in a country for which we fought beginning as far back as the 1890s. It’s not yet Uhuru when our people still can’t be employed in Zimbabwe or access land, or mineral resources. We are denied equal opportunities for employment, scholarships, loans, business opportunities, tenders and or any other opportunities…”
MRP indicated it was against these aforementioned points that they demand their “Right to Self-Determination be observed.”
“Tomorrow’s so called independence day brings sad memories to the people of Matabeleland and Midlands who suffered a gruelling tribal genocide perpetrated by the very people who call themselves our leaders today,” said the party’s information desk.
“We urge all Mthwakazi people to converge at their capital Bulawayo, at the City Hall car park tomorrow at 09:30 and be ready to take to the streets. Wear party regalia and masks, our traditional regalia is also most welcome and your participation will go a long way demonstrating our disgruntlement over the prevailing conditions of life that we are subjected to by Zimbabwe.”