The Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe has accused police of closing down a peace building workshop in Dhirihori, Marondera, Thursday afternoon after the group invited a former Zanu-PF legislator.
The Centre's Information Officer, George Makoni, said despite getting a police clearance to hold the meeting, police asked them to abandon the workshop, citing “political concerns” because former Zanu PF legislator Tracy Mutinhiri was among other invited guests.
Mr. Makoni said Ms. Mutinhiri was just one of several guests, including community and youth leaders. Ms. Mutinhiri defected from Zanu-PF following her expulsion from the party and is now affiliated with the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime MInister Morgan Tsvangirai.
VOA Studio 7 asked the Marondera police for comment, and were told to speak with the police head office in Harare. Police officials in Harare declined to comment.
The closing of the workshop comes the same week that the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration finalised a code of conduct that would hold political parties accountable for any voilence or intimidation carried out by their supporters.
Speaking with Studio 7’s Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye, Makoni said he hopes this disruption is not a sign of things to come as the country prepares for the constitutional referendum and elections.
Ms. Mutinhiri said she hopes the principals will use a bottom-up approach to encourage peace ahead of the elections, as currently there is a stark difference between the peace that leaders are preaching for and the actions that many grassroots supporters take.
Mutinhiri said party leaders should directly instruct their members to abandon violence and intimidation if they really want peace.