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Zimbabwe's Two MDCs Seeking Court Relief From Police Ban on Meetings

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi of the MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube said the officer in charge of Bulawayo province told his party should not hold any rallies as this was likely to lead to violence

Both main formations of Zimbabwe's former opposition Movement for Democratic Change are seeking relief in the country's High Court citing a pattern of interference by local police blocking their political meetings and rallies in a pre-electoral environment.

Tabitha Khumalo, a spokeswoman for the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said her party submitted a brief to Bulawayo High Court today.

Spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi of the MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube said the party will also submit papers to the High Court this week.

Chihwayi said the Ncube MDC meantime will go ahead with a rally in the Makokoba section of Bulawayo set for Saturday, saying it is the party’s right.

VOA was unable to obtain comment from the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

But Chihwayi said his party received a letter yesterday from the officer in charge of Bulawayo province, Steve Mutamba, saying the formation should not hold any rallies as this was likely to lead to violence.

Meetings called by the Tsvangirai MDC in Bulawayo and other locations including Kadoma, Mashonaland West province, were similarly barred by the police.

Police have also stopped the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions from holding a march to commemorate International Womens Day on Tuesday.

Tsvangirai MDC spokeswoman Tabitha Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act says police clearance is required for public gatherings, not private party meetings in offices.

Ncube MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told Sithandekile Mhlanga that Saturday’s rally will go ahead as planned. He said the law merely requires police be notified.

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