In yet another blow to the opposition party, the Zimbabwe Republic Police have banned three more rallies organized by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Mashonaland Central province. This brings the total number of banned CCC gatherings to a staggering 108 since March 2022, raising concerns about the fairness of the upcoming general elections.
The highly anticipated Mvurwi rally, which was supposed to feature a speech by CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, was abruptly canceled just six days before the crucial vote. Chamisa took to Twitter to express his disappointment, stating, “I’m in Guruve and Mbire. They tried intimidating the citizens, but it just couldn’t work. The police cancelled and banned our otherwise fully subscribed rally in Mvurwi. The panic is real! The citizens are unstoppable!”
CCC spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, also confirmed that two rallies in Mt Darwin were banned. Mahere criticized the government’s actions, claiming that the denial of rally permits under questionable pretexts was a deliberate strategy to suppress the opposition’s engagement with the people. Mahere stated, “Zanu PF is running scared and can never win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.”
According to a leaked letter obtained by NewsDay Weekender, the police justified the banning of the Mvurwi rally by claiming that the venue had already been booked for the same day. This explanation has raised eyebrows, with many questioning the authenticity of such claims.
The CCC and other opposition parties have long accused the ruling party, Zanu PF, of enjoying favourable treatment from law enforcement agencies. They argue that the police selectively enforce the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, using it as a tool to stifle opposition activities while turning a blind eye to Zanu PF’s actions.
The Act, which governs public gatherings, processions, and demonstrations, requires political parties to inform the police of their planned events. However, the opposition claims that the police are exploiting this law to obstruct their activities and suppress their voices.
The repeated banning of CCC rallies has raised concerns among democracy advocates both within Zimbabwe and internationally. Critics argue that such actions undermine the credibility and fairness of the electoral process, denying citizens the opportunity to engage with political leaders and make informed choices.
As the election campaign intensifies, the opposition faces an uphill battle against what they perceive as a biased system. While the CCC vows to continue their fight for change, the banning of rallies and alleged intimidation tactics only serve to further fuel the determination of the opposition and their supporters.
With the general elections around the corner, the eyes of the nation are watching closely to see how the situation unfolds. Will the opposition be able to overcome these obstacles and challenge Zanu PF’s grip on power? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear: the battle for a fair and democratic Zimbabwe is far from over.