POLICE have blocked a tree-planting event scheduled for today by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Gutu, Masvingo province on the basis that an unnamed political party is scheduled to hold a meeting in the area today.
Police officer commanding Masvingo East district Joachim Mambure yesterday refused to disclose the name of the party that intended to hold the meeting.
The tree-planting event was scheduled to be held in ward 4, at Takaona homestead in Gutu North constituency. CCC leader Nelson Chamisa was scheduled to lead the event.
“We can’t allow two parties to hold political gatherings in the same ward on the same date,” Mambure said.
“There will be violence. Our duty as police is to maintain peace and order; hence we had to stop one party from holding the meeting.”
In a letter dated December 12, 2022, in response to the CCC notification of the event, Mambure ordered police in Gutu to monitor CCC to ensure it does not violate the prohibition order.
Part of the letter read: “For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared in terms of section 8(11) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act [Chapter 11:23] that any person who knowingly opposes or fails to comply with this prohibition notice shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 14 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both such fine and such imprisonment.” CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere accused Zanu PF of influencing police to interfere with their party activities.
“Zanu PF continues to abuse State institutions and the police service as demonstrated by the latest purported prohibition of our mass citizen tree-planting initiative billed for the countryside this week,” Mahere said.
“This initiative is part of our Green Zimbabwe Agenda which champions the creation of climate secure communities, protection of the environment and reforestation. It’s a matter of regret that Zanu PF is running scared of the citizens and is trying to interfere with a project that is good for the citizens and good for Zimbabwe. It proves beyond any doubt that Zanu PF knows it has lost popular support. The citizens have rejected it. It can never win a free and fair election; so it is resorting to violence, intimidation and weaponisation of the police and the law.”
Zanu PF Gutu North legislator Yeukai Simbanegavi was not reachable.