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CCC Gokwe rally banned just hours after police bosses order approval of opposition campaigns

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By Staff Reporter


JUST a few hours after Police General Headquarters (PGHQ) issued an order instructing provincial commanders to clear rallies by opposition parties to give a semblance of credibility to upcoming elections, a Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) rally scheduled for Gokwe has been banned in stark violation of the decree.

The Gokwe event was penciled for Nyaradza Grounds on July 13, 2023.

In a letter dated July 10 addressed to CCC provincial administrator, Joseph Madyegwayi, ZRP Officer Commanding Gokwe District, Superintendent A. Zimbili said there would be other political activities in the vicinity, hence the stoppage of the rally.

“Kindly be informed that on the said date there will be political activities by other political parties, including yours at CMB (Cotton Marketing Board) Open Space opposite Madzore Bottle Store, Gokwe South which (have potential to) strain our human resources base in the event of any public disorder…,” argued Zimbili.

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CCC national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere confirmed the development in a tweet.

“Our Gokwe South rally has been banned by @PoliceZimbabwe because Zanu PF is scared of @CCCZimbabwe! 6 rallies banned over a one week period.  Chivi, Chiredzi Central, Chikombedzi, Mazowe Central, Bindura and Gokwe South. Zanu PF can never win a free & fair election in Zimbabwe!”

Award-winning journalist and government critic, Hopewell Chino’ono castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime for political intolerance.

“Over and above denying the opposition the right to have rallies, the Zanu PF regime is also denying them access to ZBC and other public media like Herald which is against the law.

“In the afternoon (Monday) I said that the police memo instructing police commanders to allow opposition rallies was just meant to appease the African ambassadors and Election Observers who have been pushing Mnangagwa’s regime to be fair on the opposition by not banning its rallies.

“Hardly 5 hours after saying that, another opposition rally has been banned again today! This election is a charade and its outcome is predetermined. I wish the opposition leadership was stronger as in 2008 where Tsvangirai had real opposition generals around him.

“The truth is that Nelson Chamisa has surrounded himself with lightweights after getting rid of people like Biti and Prof Ncube for whatever reason!

“Who does he send to Pretoria, or Addis Ababa or Gaborone at SADC? Zanu PF has no reason to be fair, it will never be fair. It is the opposition that needed to be stronger and confront this regime as happened in 2008!”

Another Twitter user, Taona Denhere berated Mnangagwa for shutting out democratic space arguing late former president Robert Mugabe was far better.

“Mugabe was a competitive authoritarian who begrudgingly allowed the opposition rallies to go ahead. But ED is a hegemonic authoritarian, who wants a coronation rather than a contest. Hence a record 6 opposition rallies have bn banned so far and more will be banned,” said Denhere.

Through a leaked memo, police bosses ordered provincial commanders to approve opposition political rallies unless there are compelling reasons.

In the memo, officers commanding provinces, the support unit, and police intelligence were advised not to block political parties as it discredited the electoral processes.

“The President has on numerous occasions also preached the gospel of peace and tolerance ahead of the impending elections. It is against this background that commanders are urged to ensure that all the processes relating to elections are done peacefully and in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 and the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA) Chapter 11:23.

“Of late, social media has been awash with incidents where some political parties claim to have been denied the right to hold their rallies by the police resulting in skirmishes.

“These skirmishes are discrediting the electoral processes, as such, commanders are requested to ensure that political parties are allowed to hold rallies unless there are very valid reasons to warrant such rejections. Under such circumstances, Regulating Authorities are urged to thoroughly consult before coming up with decisions to deny any political player an opportunity to hold a rally or meeting.

“Commanders should note that for elections to be deemed free. fair, peaceful and credible, the playing field should be reckoned as level, hence the Police actions should not discredit the electoral processes,” reads part of the memo.

ZRP has launched an internal investigation to identify “unruly elements” within its ranks following the leak of the memo addressed to commanders.