MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is set to lead a clean-up exercise in Harare’s cholera-ravaged suburbs on Saturday after police, for the second time, banned his party from holding its 19th anniversary due to the outbreak, which has so far killed 49 people.
By Everson Mushava/Obey Manayiti
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said the clean-up campaign was in line with the party’s SMART blueprint.
“There will be a massive clean-up in Harare to concentrate on areas affected by cholera just to make sure the city is clean. The idea is that the MDC is running under the SMART policy and one of the things that we are looking forward to is to clean our city,” he said.
“Our president will be leading that; he is rolling up his sleeves to get down to serious work. He realised that he was leading from the front when he went to Glen View and his student (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa followed through and went on to visit the affected area. With this clean-up, I am sure our students (Zanu PF) will also copy that.”
Sibanda said the clean-up exercise does not require any police clearance.
In a letter dated September 25 to Rhino Mashaya, the MDC Alliance organising secretary for Harare province, Officer Commanding Harare South district Chief Superintendent Winston Muzah said the anniversary could not be sanctioned in the interest of public safety and total containment of the cholera epidemic.
“May I take this opportunity to advise you that the government ban on public gatherings following an outbreak of cholera in Harare is still standing,” Muzah wrote.
“In the interest of public safety and the total containment of the cholera epidemic, we direct that the intended celebrations be postponed until the epidemic is declared over.
Meanwhile, the intended celebrations are not sanctioned.”
The MDC, formed in 1999 under the leadership of the late leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was due to hold its 19th anniversary celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium after police banned the first one that had been scheduled for September 15, soon after the cholera outbreak.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume yesterday reacted angrily to the latest ban, describing it as selective application of the law.
He said Mnangagwa was closing up all avenues for dialogue.
“They are closing the avenues of dialogue and engagement .They will be met in the streets as provided for by the Constitution,” he said.
“There is selective application of the law by the security sector. Football matches are going on, churches are going on and, for example, Walter Magaya (leader of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries) and Emmanuel Makandiwa (United Family International Church) have huge fellowships, but are meeting without fail.”