The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was crying foul yesterday after Zanu PF took over the Ebhusteni venue in Cowdray Park which the opposition party wanted to use to campaign ahead of the December 9 by-elections.
Recalled legislator Pashor Raphael Sibanda is seeking re-election in in the polls.
Police had given CCC the right to hold the rally. It cancelled the rally at the eleventh hour to pave way for Zanu PF rally which was addressed by Acting President Constantino Chiwenga.
The police on November 28 cleared the CCC to hold its rally at the same venue.
In an interview with Southern Eye, Sibanda accused Zanu PF of taking over his party's rally venue to disturb his campaign.
“We had planned and scheduled a constituency rally for Cowdray Park on December 3 at eBhusteni. However, the police decided to cancel our rally because Zanu PF suddenly scheduled their rally at the same venue.
“This is despite the fact that we had applied and notified the police about our rally well in time. So, the police chose to ignore us and consider Zanu PF ahead of us,” Sibanda said.
He also challenged the police to be impartial in the law enforcement.
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“We condemn the partisan behaviour and the selective application of the law displayed by the police. We expect the police to be non-partisan and operate within the confines of the law without fear or favour,” he said.
“We encourage our people to remain resolute behind the Citizens Coalition for Change led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. We are appealing to the people of Cowdray Park to vote back their leaders whom they voted for on the 23rd of August.”
On November 28, the police through a letter signed by Superintendent W. Mudodo officer commanding Nkulumane cleared the CCC to hold its rally in Cowdray Park.
The police also set conditions such as abiding by the country's regulations on holding rallies, time frame, no blocking or obstruction of traffic and promised to provide security.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF Bulawayo spokesperson Archibold Chiponda professed ignorance on whether the CCC had been booked for the same venue saying he was not up to date on the matter.
“It's the first time I am hearing about that. I do not have any information or up to date about how it happened, I cannot comment on that one,” Chiponda said.