HomeNewsGeneralTsholotsho villagers, police clash over meeting ban

Tsholotsho villagers, police clash over meeting ban

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TSHOLOTSHO villagers yesterday accused the police of stifling community development by barring an all-stakeholders meeting scheduled for last week Wednesday at the Brethren In Christ Church.

DIVINE DUBE
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Villagers who spoke to Southern Eye yesterday said the police disregarded their civil liberties as enshrined in the Bill of Rights by blocking a community development meeting.

According to Million Siwela, who was set to chair the meeting, the gathering was meant to discuss the council budget, schools pass rate and the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) activities, among other issues.

“The police are disregarding our constitutional rights,” Siwela fumed.

“People of Tsholotsho have a right to meet and discuss socioeconomic issues in their area hence the move by police to block our meeting was unwarranted.

“There are many issues which we wanted to discuss, including disasters caused by floods but our efforts have been stifled,” Siwela said.

Siwela charged that they would seek recourse so that the meeting is held soon to address issues which he said were critical for community development.

He said he had spoken to the officer commanding Lupane district Chief Superintend Johannes Chinembiri Govo on the phone concerning the meeting, but was told they had by-passed traditional leaders and local authority officials, although he maintained that invitations to all stakeholders had been sent prior to application for police clearance.

Siwela accused police details of protecting rural district council officials whose relationship with villagers has not been cordial following revelations of maladministration within the local authority.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Govo professed ignorance about the proposed meeting banned by police, although Southern Eye is in possession of a letter bearing an official stamp of the Lupane district commanding officer’s office barring the meeting.

“I am not aware of that meeting. Right now I am busy preparing for a meeting in Tsholotsho tomorrow concerning flood victims,” Govo said without shedding more light.

The storm follows a similar incident where police in Lupane banned a meeting organised by the National Youth Development Trust.

However, the court ordered the law enforcement agents to authorise the meeting.

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