By Anna Chibamu
DOZENS of anti-riot and plain clothes police cordoned off the Harare Gardens Friday morning to stop a prayer meeting that had been called by some local preachers to pray for a fair judgement on a recent Constitutional Court election petition by losing MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa.
The meeting had been called under the auspices of the Mass movement, a consortium of Zimbabwean churches, citizens, labour movements and students.
The environment was tense as police maintained a heavy presence in the place with organisers ordered to disperse.
Outspoken preacher and Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD)’s Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, one of the organisers, told NewZimbabwe.com that police ordered everyone to disperse and leave him to pray on his own.
“We found this place cordoned off,” he later told NewZimbabwe.com.
“We had gathered here to pray. We did pray but, we did not pray in the manner we wanted to pray.
“The police chased us away and did not want people to gather here. They told citizens to leave Magaya to pray alone.
“No explanation was given except that they did not want people here.”
Magaya explained the reasons behind the abortive prayer meeting.
“We have contested elections and if these elections remain contested, there is not going to be peace. The matter is in the courts and what we want is the impartiality of the judicial system and to encourage politicians to remove their hands from the judiciary system. Allow them to do their job,” he said.
Magaya also urged the army to stop harassing and maiming ordinary citizens.
“We want de-militarisation of the country. We have gone back to the Mugabe era where people were very much afraid, and we are saying no to this.
“We have gone to the period where the military harasses ordinary citizens. We are praying for justice to happen. With all these murders, we are guilty before the Lord. Remember there are people who were killed two weeks ago.”
Father Brian Mcgary of the Roman Catholic St Peters’ Mbare also condemned the police action while Father Rungano Muchineripi encouraged impartial delivery of justice in the high profile ConCourt matter.
The period just after the country’s disputed elections has turned tense with six people gunned down by the army early this month while activists have been forced to go into hiding following a crackdown on opposition leaders and their supporters.
Police early this month stormed the press conference which was due to be addressed by Chamisa at a Harare hotel.
They were stopped by Zanu PF spokesperson and Minister Simon Khaya Moyo.