The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has launched an audacious legal bid to clip the wings of the police ahead of August crucial elections.
In a sign the opposition party is now ready to take the fight to state institutions, CCC filed a High Court application last week seeking to bar the police from interfering in its campaign activities.
CCC says the police have banned 67 of its meetings since the party’s launch last year and routinely disrupt its rallies and arrest its officials.
Party officials accuse the police of selectively and unfairly enforcing the law by allowing ruling ZANU-PF gatherings while blocking most CCC events.
CCC legislator Wellington Chikombo, who filed the application together with other party members, claims police restrictions on CCC public meetings violate the country’s constitution and international laws that Zimbabwe has ratified.
The feisty opposition party wants the High Court to issue an order restraining the police from banning any more CCC gatherings.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa says the uneven political playing field favours ZANU-PF but insists his party will not boycott next year’s elections. Instead, he says, it’s time for CCC to “show what we are made of”.
Political analysts warn the restrictions on CCC campaigning, if not addressed, could produce a contested vote and complication post-election period.
How far the courts will go in reining in law enforcement ahead of the do-or-die elections remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: CCC has now cornered the police in a court of law.