BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) yesterday vowed to go ahead with its rally set for Harare today despite the refusal by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to sanction the gathering.
Police on Friday said CCC will not be allowed to go ahead with the rally in Glen Norah for allegedly failing to comply with provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act.
CCC, which was set up early this year, before winning the majority of parliamentary and local government elections held since March has approached the High Court challenging the ZRP’s position.
Gift Ostallos Siziba, the party’s deputy spokesperson, accused the police of pandering to the whims of the ruling Zanu PF party to block CCC rallies.
“Police blocked our rally which is set for Glen Norah (today). It is also very sad that they did not give a reason, and we are taking the matter to court,” Siziba told The Standard.
“We can safely conclude that the law is selective against the CCC.”
We are in court to challenge the police's unreasonable action to interfere with our freedom to assemble at a victory rally in Glenorah. We are not going to accept our country to have one law for Zanupf & another for the rest of the citizens.We will fight back & assert our rights. pic.twitter.com/HTYwGlq1Gf
— Gift Ostallos Siziba (@Cde_Ostallos) July 30, 2022
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other Zanu PF bigwigs have been holding rallies across the country without any police interference.
“We know the intention of Zanu PF is to use the police to demobilise our people so that whenever we do our meetings there will be a small gathering,” Siziba said.
“l want to assure Zanu PF that this will not work and we are very confident that we are going to win the 2023 elections.
“We are continuing with our preparations to host the rally where the party leadership is going to address.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to win the 2023 elections.”
ZRP spokesperson Paul Nyathi yesterday said he was not aware that the CCC rally had been banned.
This is not the first time that police have blocked a CCC rally and giving various excuses such as manpower shortages.
They recently blocked a CCC rally scheduled for Chegutu.
Ahead of the March by-elections, the CCC faced similar challenges where its rallies and other campaign activities were being disrupted by even suspected Zanu PF activists.
Analysts say the violence witnessed at some of the disrupted CCC rallies is a precursor of the run-up to the 2023 elections as Mnangagwa seeks a second full term in office.
An Afrobarometer survey last month showed that 33% of respondents said they would vote for Chamisa against Mnangagwa’s 30%.
In 2018, the 79-year-old ruler narrowly beat the CCC leader, who was the MDC Alliance candidate in a disputed election.
Mnangagwa had risen to power the previous year after a coup that toppled long time ruler Robert Mugabe.