What is more the proscription was enforced brutally:
President Robert Mugabe's regime tried to suppress rising discontent across Zimbabwe yesterday by banning all opposition political gatherings.
Heavily armed riot police enforced this edict by preventing one rally from taking place in the capital, Harare, and breaking up another in Bulawayo on Saturday.
Although the law had previously forced the opposition to seek police permission for any gathering, an outright ban has never been imposed before.
Kembo Mohadi, the home affairs minister, verbally informed an opposition politician that the cabinet had decided to proscribe all rallies last week.
Read about it here.
They prevented Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of one faction of the divided Movement for Democratic Change, from telling his supporters that he would contest the next presidential elections, supposedly due in March 2008 but likely to be postponed.
Riot police assaulted several people and arrested others when they tried to gather for the meeting.
Police set up roadblocks and fired Israeli-made water canons at the crowd. In Bulawayo, another faction of the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara defied a police ban and marched through the city. Scores of people were arrested and assaulted.
In the past Mad Bobby has been able to respond quickly, efficiently, and brutally to any emerging protest, but this time, as his personal support within ZANU-PF [his political faction] disintegrates, things might be different.