POLICE in Manicaland have blocked a National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)’s “No” vote campaign meeting scheduled for Chipinge tomorrow, describing the meeting as illegal.
Report by Moses Matenga
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku confirmed the development and accused police of taking instructions from the inclusive government to “suffocate opposing voices”.
This follows a similar ban on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s “Yes” vote campaign meeting in Highfield, Harare, on Tuesday over same allegations.
“They (police) are working for the inclusive government and are feeling the pressure of our ‘No’ vote campaign. They want to suffocate space for opposing views yet we had called for suspension of Posa (Public Order and Security Act),” said Madhuku.
“We will definitely go ahead with the meetings. We will be in Manicaland on Friday and we will not stop. What is unfortunate is that our former colleagues (the MDC-T)—for purposes of referendum — are siding with Zanu PF not knowing that they will face the same
Zanu PF in elections and similar tactics will be used on them.”
NCA spokesperson Madock Chivasa said: “The ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) ordered the NCA not to go ahead with its ‘No’ vote campaign meeting pencilled in for Friday March 8 at the Chipinge Town Council boardroom.
In instituting the order, police commanding officer for Chipinge, one Wasara, informed NCA officer Terrance Maoneke that the meeting could no longer take place as initially agreed. Wasara advised Maoneke that the meeting was illegal and that their office was not informed on time.
This is despite the fact that the NCA applied to hold the meeting on March 1.”
The meeting was supposed to be addressed by Madhuku, International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe Chapter leader Munyaradzi Gwisai and members of the NCA national taskforce.
“The NCA is worried by the unevenness of the playing field, the barring of our meetings and the media blackout, especially from the State media in the run-up to the referendum,” said Chivasa.
“We still contend that a credible referendum is a precursor to a credible election. If the referendum is not free and fair and credible, then rest be assured the election will not be credible as well.”