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‘Open barracks for political activities’

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BY SILAS NKALA

OPPOSITION parties and civil society groups have started lobbying the government to open up all army barracks and police camps for political activities ahead of next year’s general elections.

The barracks and police camps are currently regarded as no-go areas for political parties, particularly the opposition.

MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi challenged army and police bosses to open up the barracks for political activities to allow their members to exercise their freedoms.

“The innocent families inside some army barracks are also keen to see Zanu PF going in 2018.

“Army General Constantine Chiwenga and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri should open barracks and police camps to enable families of our soldiers to freely participate in electoral processes,” he said.

Ex- Zpra war veteran Max Mnkandla said political parties have a constitutional right to enter and campaign in the armed forces’ residences, as these places do not only have serving members of the armed forces, but their civilian families.

“It is not that the parties will be targeting the serving members alone, but there are a lot of civilian members of their families, who resides in these camps, who need democratic information so that they make informed choices of leaders they want,” he said.

People’s Democratic Party national organiser, Sengezo Tshabangu said it is standard procedure worldwide that all areas are accessible by all political parties for campaigns.

“No areas are off limit for electioneering,” he said.

“All government agencies, including the military barracks, prisons and police stations are open to opposition parties.”

Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo said it was important for all political parties to have access to voters including army and police personnel housed in barracks.

“Political parties must have free access to voters equally,” he said.

“If Zanu PF is denying Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote claiming it is sanctioned, why do they sanction the opposition and serving officers the right to information and association?”

#This Constitution leader, Abigale Mupambi said: “Such rights can be fully practised from an informed position. To that end, all political parties must get access to these places without hustles otherwise guided democracy will continue to overshadow the democratic rights of our uniformed forces and their families.”

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