The party is preparing for its congress in May and the provincial meetings are meant to prepare structures for the major indaba. In Bulawayo where Lucia Matibenga, the MP for Kuwadzana and a member of the MDC-T’s national executive had been dispatched to oversee a restructuring exercise, anti-riot police ordered everyone to disperse before the meeting could be convened.
Matibenga said they were shocked because the meeting was being held at the party offices, which meant that it was a private gathering. The two detectives who led the anti-riot squad said they were under strict instructions from their superiors not to allow the meeting to proceed because of the unstable political situation in the country.
According to the draconian Public Law and Security Act (Posa) political parties must inform the police if they intend to hold public meetings.
But the law does not seem to apply to Zanu (PF) which on Wednesday was allowed to hold a rally attended by more than 20 000 people at the Glamis Arena in Harare.
Police also barred meetings of the MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube scheduled for Bulawayo and Chitungwiza claiming that they did not have adequate manpower.MDC has threatened to go ahead with the rallies with or without police clearance.
Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri has been accused of being a Zanu (PF) activist which has made it difficult for him to discharge his duties impartially. On Friday visiting United States deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Page appealed to the police to stand up to their commanders who were openly abusing their powers and showing allegiance to Zanu (PF).
“We recognise that not everyone within the Zimbabwe Republic Police and armed forces supports or is engaged in violence,” she said.
“The United States applauds those patriots serving their fellow citizens and their country by maintaining law, order and stability.
Meanwhile one of our reporters in Bulawayo Nompumelelo Ncube reports that anti-riot police are patrolling the streets of Bulawayo where they harassing shoppers and vendors.The police spent the whole day iintimidating commuters and residents at the city’s main taxi rank, Egodini.