THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has reversed its ban of an MDC-T final election campaign rally set for Monday 29 July 2013 and imposed a stringent code of conduct and conditions to be adhered to by the conveners and party supporters.
In an incident which stoked up tensions between President Robert Mugabe and his long-time rival turned coalition government partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, ahead of Wednesday’s harmonized elections, the ZRP through Chief Superintendent Titus Chagwedera, the Officer Commanding Harare Central District on Friday 26 July 2013 turned down the MDC-T’s notification to hold its final election campaign rally near Rainbow Towers in Harare on the grounds that the law enforcement agency did not have enough police personnel to cover the rally after deploying them to polling stations around the country to secure some election material.
Chief Superintendent Chagwedera said the ZRP also feared that the MDC-T rally could “culminate in political violence.”
However, in a major U-turn, Chagwedera on Saturday 27 July 2013 reversed the ban and sanctioned the MDC-T to proceed although he imposed some stringent conditions for the rally.
Chief Superintendent Chagwedera said no party supporters from outside Harare would be allowed to attend the rally and no toyi-toying should be done before, during and after the rally.
Chief Superintendent Chagwedera said the police will keep an eye on the conduct of the MDC-T supporters during the rally even though he had indicated that the ZRP had no manpower to do so in his correspondence to the party on Friday 26 July 2013.
Chief Superintendent Chagwedera warned that all sections of the security forces would “monitor the situation”.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on Wednesday 31 July 2013 to elect a new government that will take over from the fragile coalition government of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe formed almost five years ago to stem the country’s political and economic crisis.
Meanwhile, Mutare Magistrate Noah Gwatidzo on Saturday 27 July 2013 released on $30 bailShuwa Mudiwa, the MDC-T aspiring parliamentary candidate for Mutare West constituency, who was arrested early in the morning for allegedly convening a meeting without securing police authority.
Mudiwa was charged with contravening Section 25 (1) (b) of the Public Order and Security Act after he allegedly convened a meeting at Mashuka shuka Business Centre, Marange, in Manicaland province on 26 July 2013. He was represented by Chris Ndlovu of Gonese Ndlovu Legal Practitioners and Blessing Nyamaropa of ZLHR.