The MDC led by Nelson Chamisa has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of employing dirty tactics to silence the opposition after police gave strict guidelines for the party’s 19th anniversary celebrations set for tomorrow.
“If you read the conditions set for us you would be forgiven for thinking that they were set by Adolf Hitler because it is clear that Zanu PF does not tolerate opposition and would rather have a one-party State,” said Chamisa’s deputy Morgen Komichi while alleging that the law enforcement agents and other State institutions were captured by Mnangagwa’s government.
When Hitler came to power as the Chancellor of Germany in the 1930s, on July 14, 1933, his Nazi party officially declared itself the only political party in the country and outlawed the formation of any other parties.
This was after the Reichstag building that housed the German Parliament was set on fire which was blamed on the communists who were allegedly plotting to overthrow the Nazi government.
The following day, Hitler issued a decree “for the Protection of the People and the State,” commonly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree that stripped citizens of their constitutional liberties and allowed the Nazi government to arrest communist leaders.
Komichi said the conditions set by the police were meant to dampen the MDC’s spirits in a manner that violated its supporters’ rights.
“We are dealing with a regime that is illegitimate and is a perpetuation of (former president Robert) Mugabe’s rule if it is not worse.
“Zimbabweans have not known freedom under Zanu PF’s rule and we have always been fighting that and will continue to do so no matter how hard they try to frustrate us.
We have developed thick skin,” Komichi said.
The country’s law enforcement agents bowed to opposition pressure on Wednesday and gave the party the greenlight to proceed with its long-awaited 19th anniversary celebration.
The celebrations had been put on hold following a cholera outbreak that saw authorities banning public gatherings last month.
But following a recent Constitutional Court ruling that struck off provisions of the Public Order and Security Act that empowered the police to block public gatherings, the MDC took the decision to proceed with its commemorations.
At the ceremony, the party hopes to anoint Chamisa as the “real people’s president”.
In a letter to the MDC, the police directed party officials to control the behaviour of their members, before, during and after the celebrations.
“Your political party shall not intimidate passers-by and those who have nothing to do with your celebrations.
“Your members should not be involved in toy-toying, convoying of vehicles of people chanting, singing and disseminating hateful and defaming speeches,” the letter reads in part.
The police also directed that MDC marshals must be dressed in a uniform ostensibly to “make it easier to be identified by the police”.
“A list of the marshals shall be presented to the officer who will be responsible for police security at your celebrations…any deviation from the above will result in police dispersing your gathering.”
Police further said organisers of the event, Rhino Mashaya and party organising secretary Amos Chibaya will be held accountable for any troublesome behaviour by MDC supporters.