Zimbabwean police say the opposition Movement for Democratic Alliance Nelson Chamisa is free to stage its protest against what the organization calls a march against lack of tangible electoral reforms ahead of the country’s harmonized elections set for July 30 this year.
Chief Superintendent Andrew Ncube, Officer Commanding Harare province, informed secretary general Douglas Mwonzora of the Chamisa-led MDC-T that police will arrest anyone who breaks the law during the march.
In a letter to Mwonzora, Ncube noted that “The provisions of Section 29 of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter 11:17 will be invoked if any of the conditions are violated.”
Police have clearly stipulated the route of the protest, time, meeting venue and handing over of a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It’s not yet clear whether representatives of the protesters will meet with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The MDC Alliance wants ZEC to conduct credible elections and Mnangagwa’s government to allow opposition parties to have access to state media and other issues.
In a statement, the MDC Alliance stressed that “as major stakeholders in the political affairs of Zimbabwe, we want to participate in the National Logistics Committee so that we run this election in a manner that will produce an uncontested outcome.
“This is a crucial time. We must be vigilant as we demand an environment for credible elections in Zimbabwe. The ballot paper remains a serious threat to Zimbabwe's democracy. As long as the paper has not been scrutinized, and the printing of the ballot paper remains shrouded in secrecy, then there cannot be an election.
“As long as the voters' roll has not been audited by credible and an independent external auditor, there cannot be an election. As long as the securocrats remain entrenched in the ZEC systems and interfere with our democratic right to choose a leader we want, and transfer power to the winning candidate then Zimbabwe cannot have elections.”
The MDC claims that ZEC is staffed with army and operatives of the feared Central Intelligence Organization.
In a related development, the ruling Zanu PF’s Youth League says police have turned down its request to stage a march Tuesday to show support for Mnangagwa’s call for free, fair and credible general elections this year.
In a statement, the party’s chairperson for Harare province, Godwin Gomwe, said, “… The Zimbabwe Republic Police has turned down our request for a police clearance citing that a certain political party had been granted permission prior to our application. As a leadership we automatically accepted and embraced this decision by the police.
“All bonafide members of ZANU PF are hereby instructed not to engage in any actions that may resemble a solidarity march tomorrow as such actions are not only illegal but are unsanctioned by your leadership. Our planned solidarity march will be held on Wednesday …”
“I take this opportunity to encourage all Zimbabweans to engage in peaceful and law abiding politics as we play our part in this new dispensation of mature politics. We urge as well, the ZRP to arrest without fear or favour all persons who breach the peace in our country.”
Zimbabwe holds crucial elections July 30 this year.