Police have blocked today’s MDC Alliance rally in Harare’s Glen View suburb but have okayed the one to be held in Epworth tomorrow, Sunday.
Today’s rally was meant to launch opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s campaign as leader of the MDC Alliance ahead of elections due in five months.
Tsvangirai is, however, still in South Africa where he is receiving treatment for cancer of the colon and in his absence MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa will stand in for him.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Welshman Ncube told the Daily News yesterday that police had indeed banned today’s rally.
“We are not proceeding with tomorrow (today)’s rally, the rally has been cancelled after the police refused to clear it. Currently I don’t know the reasons; I only heard by our guys in Harare that the police have refused to clear our rally.
“The police must desist from abusing the Public Order and Security Act (Posa). Under Posa they do not have the mandate to ban any gathering.
“The police continue to embrace old habits; we thought they have changed after the dismissal of senior police officers.”
Efforts to get a comment from the deputy police spokesperson chief superintendent Paul Nyathi were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
The Police Headquarter press office was also not forthcoming as they had not responded to questions sent to them by the time of going to print.
This was despite earlier assurances they would do so.
Ncube, however, said they will proceed with their Sunday rally in Epworth. “The rally will be addressed by MDC Alliance principals so they outline the roadmap to elections.”
MDC Alliance comprises political parties that include People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Tendai Biti; Ncube’s MDC; Transform Zimbabwe led by Jacob Ngarivhume; Zanu Ndonga headed by Denford Masiyarira and the Multi-Racial Christian Democrats led by Mathias Guchutu.
Both Biti and Ncube are former secretaries-general of a united MDC.
MDC Alliance operates through various national alliance committees which include Communications, Organising and Networks, International Relations, Legal Services and Electoral Reforms, Youth and Women.
All the parties’ organs from the branches to the provinces have established alliance coordinating committees that are organising joint activities with specific reference to voter education and registration mobilisation at every level.
A large cross-section of Zimbabweans believe the opposition stands a good chance of defeating President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF in this year’s elections if it participates as a single bloc.
However, the MDC Alliance has been blighted by divisions as MDC bigwigs jostle for the party presidency after Tsvangirai announced that he is considering retirement owing to ill-health.
The situation has not been helped by the fact that some of Tsvangirai’s lieutenants including vice president Thokozani Khupe and some senior party officials have always been against the coalition arguing that the MDC does not need it in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.