Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabwean Police Block Another Opposition Rally

FILE —Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa speaks at the funeral of Moreblessing Ali, one of his supporters, in Nyatsime, Harare, June, 14, 2022.

HARARE — Zimbabwean police Friday thwarted a planned weekend opposition campaign rally over lack of toilets and unsuitable roads to the venue, the latest in a series of bans ahead of August's polls.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change was scheduled to hold a rally in Bindura, a small town located 90 kilometers northeast of the capital, Harare, on Sunday, however the meeting was banned after police labelled their proposed venue inadequate.

A police letter stopping the rally said the venue was a "bushy" piece of land "without serviceable roads, water and sewer facilities."

It said there was a "high risk of threat to the spread" of communicable diseases.

The venue poses "a high-risk security threat" to the rally-goers, it added, saying if there was any public disorder, the police and emergency workers would struggle to access the venue "due to unavailability of an official road network."

"Our mandate to protect life and property and to maintain law and order will be compromised," said the police, adding the opposition failed to give sufficient notice of the meeting, which is seven days in advance, as stipulated by the law.

The police ordered the opposition party to secure another venue and give it sufficient notice ahead of the rally.

The gathering, where the CCC was going to formally launch its election manifest, was much anticipated.

CCC spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere told Reuters that the party's lawyers were challenging the ban.

"While (the ruling party) ZANU-PF is capturing state institutions to ban our rallies, we are winning hearts and minds," Mahere said.

Political analysts argue the general elections may fail the test of credibility if the clampdown on the opposition continues.

Despite the sentiments passed by analysts, political temperatures across the southern African nation are rising as many expect a close race on August 23, between Chamisa and the incumbent president and ZANU-PF candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa, replaced strongman Mugabe in 2017 after a military-led coup, and is seeking re-election, however analysts say he faces a disaffected population that is battling hyperinflation, poverty and high unemployment.

Information for this report was sourced from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.