Govt quakes over CCC protests

Police were stopping cars and searching for weapons, with public transport vehicles forced to offload passengers at the roadblocks.

GOVERNMENT has put State security apparatus on high alert in anticipation of the planned flash protests by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which is disputing results of the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections.

Zimbabweans in most urban areas yesterday woke up to a heavy police presence on major roads leading to central business districts.

Police were stopping cars and searching for weapons, with public transport vehicles forced to offload passengers at the roadblocks.

The opposition CCC last week announced plans to launch the protests in Bulawayo over the recall of its legislators by self-proclaimed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

But the police banned the demonstrations which were scheduled for yesterday.

The CCC wrote to the police seeking permission to hold a peaceful demonstration to petition Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister yesterday from 10am to 2pm.

“This office acknowledges receipt of your notification to hold a peaceful demonstration to petition the Minister of State Bulawayo Province dated October 16, 2023,” the police memo read.

“Please note that your notification does not comply with the mandatory provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act.”

CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said government and police responses showed that the regime was panicking.

“This is not the behaviour of those who won an election. Obviously, they are panicking. The citizens will continue to find ways of expressing themselves,” he said.

The opposition party has called on its supporters to sign a petition denouncing the recalls describing them as “unconstitutional” and “disrespectful” to the electorate.

The CCC said Tshabangu, who initiated the recalls, was not a member of the party.

It also said that the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and the Local Government and Public Works minister Winston Chitando recalled the elected officials despite the fraudulent nature of the letters from Tshabangu, who has recalled 15 CCC MPs and 17 councillors.

The petition has so far been signed by more than 1 000 people.

The opposition party has been facing challenges since it ruffled the ruling Zanu PF party during the August polls when it grabbed 73 parliamentary seats and hundreds of council wards.

“Elections are expensive. This also comes with a great expense of time and resources to the taxpayer, and the diasporas who generously supported CCC candidates,” the petition reads.

“The recalls of our 15 MPs have given Zanu PF two-thirds majority in Parliament. The recall of our two female mayors is targeting young women who have risen to the responsibility of serving the people who put faith in their leadership ability.”

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has also denounced the recalls, calling for a repeal of the law allowing the recalls, which many believe are an attempt by Zanu PF to silence the opposition.

The CCC has since approached the courts over the recalls, while Tshabangu has dug in claiming that he is a bona fide party interim secretary-general with powers to recall any wayward elected official.

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