BY ALBERT NXUMALO
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has bemoaned the continuous banning of its public meetings by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) claiming it is being treated as a terrorist organisation.
Last year, MDC had several of its events violently blocked by police for various reasons.
In December, MDC leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa claimed to have escaped death by a whisker after police in Marondera allegedly fired “live and rubber bullets” at him, forcing him to scurry for cover and abandon a tree-planting programme earmarked for Dombotombo Clinic.
Although police insisted that they only used tear smoke to disperse the crowd, top MDC officials said live ammunition had been fired into the crowd.
Today, the party had planned to hold its Agenda 2020 meeting in Mbare, Harare.
“We are noting a disturbing trend where the police are routinely proscribing MDC events and treating the party as a banned organization in the country,” its deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.
Agenda 2020 will seek to outline the party’s programme of action for the year.
According to Tamborinyoka police cited “flimsy excuses that the event cannot proceed because the police are busy with the schools that are opening this week as if the police have anything to do with the opening of schools”.
“Starting with our scheduled peaceful and constitutional public protests in the various cities that were brutally quelled by the police in August last year, as well as President Nelson Chamisa’s Hope of the Nation Address that was violently proscribed on 20 November 2019, we have noted a very disturbing trend where the police are banning legitimate and constitutional activities by the party.
“In each of these instances, we had complied with the law and given the police due notification but we continue to be treated like a banned or a terrorist organisation when we are a legitimate political party that is in Parliament and that controls 28 out of 32 urban local authorities” added the deputy spokesperson saying “we have had enough”.
As a way forward, Tamborinyoka said the party leadership has postponed the event to next week “because the regime was budgeting for a clash, for blood, and for violence and as a party we will not sacrifice the lives of innocent Zimbabweans”.
“For fear of their lives against this brutal dictatorship, and given what this regime has done before, we have decided to postpone the Agenda 2020 event to next week on Tuesday at a venue to be announced”.
Last November, the security sector descended on MDC supporters who had gathered at the party’s headquarters in Harare where Chamisa was expected to give his Hope of the Nation Address.
Anti-riot police fired teargas and assaulted several party supporters when Chamisa failed to address his supporters including passers-by were also injured as police randomly assaulted people around the party’s headquarters.
Some businesses, including banks, were forced to close as police fired teargas to disperse people.