Harare, May 23, 2014 – Zimbabwean police have banned the country’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) from holding a rally in a volatile suburb at a time of deepening economic crisis.
Tsvangirai’s allies in the MDC-T have threatened to roll out street demonstrations to protest over the current economic crisis and to demand that President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party fulfills its promises of creating jobs for millions of famished Zimbabweans.
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and party official, Job Sikhala, recently told party supporters that there was nothing that stops disgruntled Zimbabweans to take to the streets as it is “legally allowed to do so in the new constitution”.
Freedom to demonstrate and petition is now guaranteed under Section 59 of the country’s new governance charter.
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party had planned and notified the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of its intention to hold a rally on Sunday, a day when the continent commemorates Africa Day, at Zimbabwe Grounds, a sports field in Harare’s volatile and sprawling Highfield suburb, which was to be addressed by the fiery former trade union leader.
But the ZRP barred the MDC-T party from holding the rally claiming that the law enforcement agency was short of manpower to cover the meeting.
“…my office would like to advise you that police will not be able to provide officers to cover your rally considering that the day will be a Sunday and public holiday,” reads part of the police letter written to the MDC-T by Chief Superintendent Garikai Gwangwava, the officer commanding Harare South District.
Gwangwava said the ZRP had also barred the opposition party from holding the rally because of the recent skirmishes which occurred at “one of your rallies organised at Epworth”.
The police boss said the MDC-T party should reschedule the rally to a later date “which is not a public holiday or a Sunday”.
Tension is increasingly rising in Zimbabwe, where the country is once again mired in an agonising economic crisis with companies closing down and worsening unemployment.
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party blames Mugabe, in power since the attainment of independence in 1980, for the agonising crisis.
But the 90 year old leader denies the charge and blames opposition parties and Western governments for the country’s woes.