By Mary Taruvinga
MDC has approached the High Court with an urgent application seeking to have dozens of anti-riot police removed from the front of its premises.
Since Monday morning, baton wielding police officers have set up base in front of the main opposition’s national headquarters at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in central Harare.
MDC says the continued presence of police was disturbing the free movement of party supporters and employees who want to use its premises.
The party, in its court application, also says the police presence was affecting tenants housed in the building who are now losing business as police were barring their clients from accessing the building.
Through their lawyers from Shava Law Chambers, the party cited Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and Officer Commanding police Harare province as respondents.
“On 14 October 2019, members of the ZRP barricaded the applicant’s offices at number 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue, restricting the movement of applicant’s employees, tenants and visitors in and outside the building.
“The said members of the ZRP who were armed and in anti-riot police gear refused to identify themselves or disclose the reason behind their barricading…”
MDC says numerous attempts to get clarification from the police have been futile.
“Members of ZRP continue to interfere with applicant’s business, tenants and visitors without any explanation or justification.
“Applicant’s employees’ right to freedom of movement has been and continues to be infringed by actions of the members of the police who fall under the supervision and authority of respondents.
“Applicant has tenants housed under its building. There is a hair salon and barbershop operating under the name She and He. This tenant is unable to conduct its normal business operations as customers are prevented from entering the premises by members of ZRP.
“Further, they are losing business by each passing minute with these police officers blocking the premises.”
The main opposition said there is high risk of irreparable harm if this application is not granted.
“There can never be adequate compensation for loss of business which will be occasioned by the continued behaviour of the members of the ZRP.”
The case is yet to be set down for hearing.
However, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyathi said Thursday their presence outside MDC offices was meant to maintain peace and order in the city.
He denied the police operation was targeting MDC.