Armed riot police dispersed people that had gathered for the lecturer.
The lecture series, part of Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s Office to engage with the public, was billed to be addressed by Professor Patrick Bond, from the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and local academic Ibbo Mandaza, from the Southern African Political Economy Series (SAPES).
Political analyst Charles Mangongera, who was to chair the lecture, said police refused to listen to him despite brandishing a police clearance, authorising the gathering.
“They said we supplied them with a false address. This is despite the fact that we have applied using the same address before and they have granted us permission,” Mangongera told Radio VOP on Thursday. “We were dispersed. They sent a whole truckload of anti-riot police to cordon off the hotel,” he added.
Bond, the South African academic, said he was deeply disappointed that the police had barred the public lecture saying this reflected that Zimbabwe had regressed into a fascist state where the free flow of ideas is curtailed by a paranoid political class.
National police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available to explain why the police had outlawed the meeting.