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Chamisa star rally banned

2023 Elections
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa

POLICE yesterday barred Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa from launching his 2023 election campaign in Bindura, Mashonaland Central tomorrow, a move the opposition party said proved that the ruling Zanu PF was “running scared”.

Police said the venue for the rally was not suitable for hosting large gatherings and that it was a security and health threat.

This is the third CCC rally to be blocked by the police inside seven days after two rallies were banned in Chiredzi and Zaka, Masvingo province, early this week.

The police also imposed stringent conditions for the opposition party rally for Masvingo South, forcing it to cancel the gathering.

The conditions included a ban on sloganeering, canvassing for and bussing in supporters. CCC had sought permission to launch the party’s 2023 campaign in terms of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Mopa).

Under the country’s laws, clearance must be sought from the police to hold public gatherings, including political rallies.

“This office has reservations in respect of the suitability of the venue taking into account all relevant security factors necessary,” Bindura police said in a letter to CCC.

“The venue falls within an undeveloped piece of land, which is bushy without serviceable roads, water and sewer facilities.

“It provides a high risk security threat to the participants. There is also a high risk of threat to the spread of any communicable diseases.”

Chamisa and his CCC are seen as the main threat to the hegemony of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party.

Mnangagwa launched his party’s election campaign in Chipinge, Manicaland province, two weeks ago.

“In the event of any public disorder, the police and other emergency services would have challenges to access the venue due to unavailability of an official road network,” police said.

“As a result, our mandate to protect life and property and to maintain law and order will be compromised.

“Lastly, your notification did not give sufficient notice to the regulatory authority as provided for in terms of the Mopa Act.”

CCC deputy spokesperson, Gift “Ostallos” Siziba, accused Mnangagwa of running scared ahead of the August 23 elections.

Siziba urged party supporters to remain vigilant.

“He (Mnangagwa) is scared, petrified. More pressure from fellow countrymen,” Siziba tweeted after the ban was made public.

Zanu PF has also been bussing supporters to its rallies.

Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, defended police action on social media, posting on Twitter under a pseudonym @TinoedzaZvimwe.

“Thank you police for clear don'ts governing rallies,” he tweeted.

“Political parties must chant slogans at designated venues only.

“They may not bus supporters to what are not national or provincial rallies.

“Local rallies don’t need bussing of people itself an alibi for importing freelance violent thugs.”

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, could not be reached for comment.

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