Police have warned that anyone found on the wrong side of the law during demonstrations mooted by opposition political parties should be prepared for the consequences.
Zimbabwe Republic Police commander for this year’s harmonised elections Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said yesterday that demonstrations should never infringe on other people’s rights.
The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has mooted demonstrations this week to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to accede to their demands, which include being involved in the printing of ballot papers for the July 30 harmonised elections.
The MDC Alliance also want to know the company printing ballot papers.
Snr Ass Comm Makodza said police were ready to deal with any mischief that disturbed national peace.
“What we are saying as police is that some people might risk not voting while in custody,” he said in an interview.
“Some people might lose out for what they think they are fighting for while they are in custody. That message should be loud and clear. Generally, as police we are saying now that the electoral courts have been set up and the dates have been promulgated, anyone found wanting in terms of violation of the law should be accounted for and should be able to face the full wrath of the law.”
He said demonstrations, if done in terms of the law, should be peaceful.
“The moment someone commits an offence during those demonstrations, he/she should be able to account for his or her actions,” he said.
MDC-T national organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya yesterday claimed they had notified the police about their protests.
“We have notified them and we are going ahead,” he said.
Government has already said political parties craving involvement in the operations of independent commissions should first downgrade them to ordinary statutory bodies by way of a constitutional amendment.
“They (opposition parties) must go back to the Zimbabwean people and say we have had enough of the independence of these constitutional bodies because we now want to participate in tenders,” Information, Media and Broadcasting Services secretary Mr George Charamba said recently.
“But to try and suggest that their involvement in tendering process is the test of freeness and fairness of elections is preposterous and this Government will err on the side of defending the constitutional inviolability of these commissions. Besides, there is no law that accommodates these demands by the opposition,” said Mr Charamba.
“What the law provides for is not the tendering process for ballot material, rather it is the transparent management of the material once it’s done and this takes many forms,” he said.