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Police should not discredit the electoral processes – says ZRP bosses to commanders in leaked memo; backtracks on hardline stance on opposition rallies

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By Staff Reporter


POLICE chiefs have issued a directive to provincial commanders ordering the latter to approve political rallies unless there are compelling reasons.

This comes after police blocked six opposition six rallies last week citing various excuses ranging from inaccessible roads to inadequate resources.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi in a recent statement said the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was to blame for the failure of its political meetings.

The latest ban spilled into the courts with Bindura magistrate Mary Msipa ruling that CCC had indeed failed to put its house in order.

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A memo dated July 8 advised officers commanding provinces, the support unit, and police intelligence 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.