Frequently Asked Questions: Public Demonstrations And Protests

Are protests and public demonstrations lawful in Zimbabwe

Yes, It is your constitutional right to protest or demonstrate as you wish in Zimbabwe.

Are we allowed to freely demonstrate any day, any time anywhere in Zimbabwe?

Yes, the constitution stipulates that we can have a demonstration freely in Zimbabwe.

Why Then Do we have to notify or tell the police that we are holding a public demonstration?

Because the law says so.

According to the POSA Bill on Public Gatherings

Subject to subsection, the organiser of a public gathering shall give at least four
clear days’ written notice of the holding of the gathering to the regulating authority for the area
in which the gathering is to be held: Provided that the regulating authority may, in his discretion, permit shorter notice to be given.

This means organisers of a demo must just notify the authorities about the planned gathering. The law says we have to notify authorities and not doing so means we are breaking the law.

Why must the authorities come to public protests and demonstrations?

  1. To preventing any public disorder or a breach of the peace.
  2. To facilitate co-operation between the Police Force and the organiser of the gathering
  3. To ensure that the gathering concerned does not unduly interfere with the rights of
    others or lead to an obstruction of traffic, a breach of the peace or public disorder.

Are they supposed to use live ammunition when they are trying to quell protestors or demonstrators?

The Public Order and Security Act says:

A police officer and any person assisting him may do all things reasonably necessary

  1. Dispersing the persons present at a public gathering the holding or continuance of
    which is unlawful by virtue of any direction or order.
  2. Apprehending any such persons
  3.  If any such person makes resistance, the police officer or the person assisting him may use
    such force as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case for overcoming any such

What happens if a protestor or demonstrator is killed by the authorities during a protest or a demonstration?

If a person is killed as a result of the use of reasonably justifiable force, where the force is directed at overcoming that person’s resistance to a lawful measure taken in terms of that subsection, the killing shall be lawful.

Do the authorities have the powers to prohibit a gathering such as a demo?

Yes  POSA allows them to.

If a regulating authority believes on reasonable grounds that a public gathering will occasion public disorder, he may by notice in terms of subsection (3) prohibit the public gathering.










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