By Leopold Munhende
CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has described decisions by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to ban four of his party’s rallies as ‘lawfare’ which has to be stopped.
The CCC had sought to have rallies in Chiwanzamarara, Marondera; Chikomba in Mashonaland East, Chendambuya in Makoni district and another one in rural Mutare.
All were barred based on either ‘lacking some information’ or not being fully compliant with the controversial Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA).
“Your intended convening notice is not compliant with the Law. The intended venue is also lined up with sporting activities by local football clubs who usually use the same venue,” said the officer commanding Mutare rural district in response to CCC’s notification.
“Some property owners are against the holding of the rally at their doorstep. This office perceives the situation on the ground to be unfavourable for the holding of the rally and therefore it cannot proceed. Be guided accordingly.”
The CCC has not been allowed to hold a rally since last year’s campaign period ahead of March by-elections. Even then ZRP anti-riot officers were ordered to shut down some of those which had been given the green light.
Two of its rallies have ended violently after attacks by either ruling Zanu PF supporters, as happened in Kwekwe, or anti-riot officers as was witnessed in Gokwe.
“We condemn Zanu PF’s continued abuse of state institutions in banning our rallies. It confirms beyond any doubt that their backs are against the wall as all available data points to a CCC victory in the upcoming elections,” party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere told NewZimbabwe.com
“Zanu PF can never win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe hence they resort to their usual dirty tricks of political violence, weaponising the law against opponents, banning our gatherings, criminalising dissent and enacting draconian laws to try and destroy the opposition. It will not work.”
Zimbabwe heads for elections this year with the CCC and Zanu PF being front runners at claiming seats up for grabs.
Added Mahere: “President Nelson Chamisa has already put the nation on notice that we have more sophisticated ways of gathering, mobilising and organising over which they have no control. We are penetrating villages, towns and cities in all provinces; and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure a citizens’ victory for change this year.
“Zimbabweans want and deserve a new government led by Chamisa and ethical leaders who can drive a transformation and modernisation agenda. We are ready to build a New Great Zimbabwe. No amount of tantrums, toxic politics or intimidation by Zanu PF will stop us.”