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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Sued For $1m Over Damages During 2016 Protests

Zimbabwe’s opposition coalition, convened by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has been sued for $1 million and accrued interest over damages during protests in the capital Harare last year.

A civil society group called Citizens Against Violence and Anarchy Trust (CAVAAT) filed the suit at the High Court on behalf of business operators in the central business district on Thursday against the coalition National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).

“The total value of property belonging to private citizens, which was damaged and or lost during the demonstration is the aggregate sum of $1,000,000,” the group said in its suit cited by local media The Herald.

The 13-party coalition formed to demand electoral reform ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2018 presidential elections hit the streets in August last year during a demonstration that turned violent resulting in shops being looted and damages caused to business properties.

The total value of property belonging to private citizens, which was damaged and or lost during the demonstration is the aggregate sum of $1,000,000.

CAVAAT is holding NERA responsible for the damages saying it had the duty to ensure the demonstration was peaceful.

“The defendant, in breach of its said legal duty, failed to put in place adequate safeguard to ensure that its demonstration was peaceful and that no property belonging to private citizens was destroyed,” it said.

It also cited the failure of the group to follow a designated route approved by the authorities.

NERA has not yet responded to the suit.

The coalition holds rallies and demonstrations calling on the authorities to push for an even electoral play field and to mobilise people to register as voters.

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