POLICE have blocked today’s National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) rally in Chinhoyi which was expected to draw thousands of youths from different political parties as part of a campaign to mobilise people to register as voters ahead of next year’s elections.
NUNURAI JENA/OBEY MANAYITI
MDC-T provincial organising secretary Wilson Makanyaire said police advised them that their application failed to meet the four-day-period required at law.
“Yes, the police told us that we cannot go ahead with our rally citing that we applied at short notice. We have since informed all our members from other provinces who were already preparing for tomorrow’s rally,” Makanyaire said.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was expected to address the rally together with leaders of other opposition political parties.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said the rally would rescheduled to next Sunday vowing opposition parties would not give up their fight to level the electoral playing field.
“This, however, shows the timidity of the regime, but the regime is now short of ideas. We are going to have our rally as planned. This only shows the regime is not reforming,” Mwonzora said.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara was not reachable.
Another Nera official, Davis Mukushwa, expressed unhappiness after their youth forum application was turned down.
“Police have turned down our application to conduct voter registration and education campaign in Mashonaland West province. Despite the police being notified early, they have remained silent since Monday and only gave a negative answer at the eleventh hour. We condemn that partisan behaviour by the police,” he said.
“This is total complicity with Zanu PF tendencies to lock the opposition out of rural communities.”
Mukushwa alleged that Zanu PF sabotaged the meeting by claiming that the ruling party wanted to use the same venue for its own activities.
The country is expected to use a new voters’ roll to be compiled through the use of biometric voter registration kits that are yet to be procured.
Nera has been calling on authorities to implement electoral reforms and it has been conducting demonstrations and rallies to push for an even electoral playfield.
Last week Nera had a rally in Chitungwiza that was graced by several political leaders who promised to take the rallies to other areas outside the capital.
In Harare police have always had brushes with Nera over rallies. They are accused of changing rally venues or declining to issue permits for the Nera activities.
Meanwhile, in Harare police have granted the Coalition of Democrats (Code) a structures meeting at the Harare Showground today.
“Your notification letter to hold a structures meeting on May 13, 2017 at Harare Show Grounds, Nelson Mandela Hall, has been noted. As agreed in terms of Section 26 (6) of the Posa the meeting shall commence at 10am to 3pm on the same day,” read the letter from police.