Chamisa party defies after ban

The opposition party led by Nelson Chamisa, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), yesterday pledged to go ahead with its planned rally in Harare today despite the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) refusing to sanction the meeting.

On Friday, police said the CCC would not be allowed to hold the rally at Glen Norah for allegedly failing to comply with the provisions of the Peace and Order Act.

The CCC, which was established earlier this year before winning the majority of parliamentary and local elections held since March, has approached the High Court to challenge the ZRP’s position.

Gift Ostallos Siziba, the party’s deputy spokesman, accused the police of pandering to the whims of the ruling Zanu-PF party to block CCC rallies.

“The police blocked our rally which is planned 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.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other Zanu-PF bigwigs held rallies across the country without any interference from the police.

“We know the intention of Zanu-PF is to use the police to demobilize our people so that every time we have our meetings there is a small rally,” Siziba said.

“I want to assure Zanu-PF that this will not work and we are very confident that we will win the 2023 elections.

“We are continuing our preparations to host the rally where the party leadership will address.

“We are sparing no effort to win the 2023 election.”

ZRP spokesman Paul Nyathi said yesterday he was not aware the CCC rally had been banned.

This is not the first time that the police have blocked a CCC rally and given various excuses such as lack of manpower.

They recently blocked a planned CCC rally in Chegutu.

Prior to the March by-elections, the CCC faced similar challenges where its rallies and other campaign activities were disrupted by even suspected Zanu-PF militants.

Analysts say the violence seen at some of the disrupted CCC rallies is a precursor to the run-up to the 2023 elections as Mnangagwa seeks a second full term.

An Afrobarometer survey last month showed that 33% of respondents said they would vote for Chamisa compared to 30% for Mnangagwa.

In 2018, the 79-year-old leader narrowly defeated the CCC leader, who was the MDC Alliance candidate in a disputed election.

Mnangagwa had come to power the previous year after a coup that toppled longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Joseph K. Bennett