Another MDC rally banned in Mash West
HARARE – Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the mainstream MDC, has been barred again by police from addressing a rally at Nyamakate Business Centre in Hurungwe North constituency.
It is the second time this month, and the fourth inside two months this has happened in Mashonaland West.
In an August 24, letter to the party, Makuti police said the MDC must first seek clearance from Hurungwe Rural District Council before they could clear the rally.
“Can you kindly seek authority of the venue you are holding the rally,” officer commanding Makuti Police Station Inspector Gwati stated in the letter.
“If it is at a community hall, seek clearance from Hurungwe Rural District Council first before you submit your letter.”
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told the Daily News his party was outraged with what was happening in Mashonaland West where police have blatantly refused to okay MDC rallies.
He described the police action as arrogant and a violation of the country’s Constitution.
Mwonzora said they will take the matter up with Sadc through President Jacob Zuma’s team of facilitators that is expected in Zimbabwe today.
“We have received a note to that effect and the situation in that part of the country has gone out of hand and is intolerable,” Mwonzora said.
“The police there is arrogant and we are going to act accordingly because it is a clear violation of the country’s Constitution.
“The secretary-general was supposed to address our supporters there but Zanu PF is using the police to frustrate us. We are not required by law to be cleared by traditional chiefs or rural district councils but to notify the police.
“That explains why we will continue to demand security sector reforms before any election can be held. It’s one of the issues that we are going to raise with Sadc facilitators on Tuesday,” said Mwonzora.
The MDC in Mashonaland West, through acting provincial spokesperson Eddy Ndirayire, had written to the police seeking clearance to hold a rally at Nyamakate Business Centre on September 2, but have been turned down on the grounds that their application must be attached to a clearance from the council authorities before it can be considered.
Ndirayire complained that his party has been denied political space since last month when the police suddenly made it mandatory for the MDC to be cleared by either the local traditional leadership or council officials.
He added that the same police had cleared a war veterans’ meeting which was applied for on August 27, well after the MDC lodged an application to use the same venue. Inspector Gwati declined to comment.
“What do you want? I don’t want to talk to you about that,” was all he said before switching off his mobile phone.