Political analysts have condemned as “shocking, partisan and unacceptable” stringent conditions set by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) star rally pencilled for Harare over the weekend.
The newly formed political outfit led by Nelson Chamisa is set to hold its first ever rally ahead of the March 26 by-elections, since it was formed last month.
Granting permission for the rally to go ahead, police in Harare set stringent conditions, saying if not followed they would disperse the gathering.
Those conditions among others include observance of Covid-19 protocols and a ban on the busing of people from other constituencies and chanting of party slogans.
However, when the ruling ZANU-PF party held its rally in Epworth last weekend no similar conditions were imposed.
“The ZRP is offside,” said Mkhululi Tshuma, a political analyst.
“The police bosses are shamelessly trying hard to please ZANU-PF. Banning slogans at a rally. Really? Provision of transport to less privileged supporters has always been and will always be an integral part of Zimbabwean politics.”
He further said: “Even ZANU-PF had hundreds of buses bringing supporters from various places around the country to their launch in Epworth last weekend. What has changed now. Surely Zimbabwe does not deserve this kind of partisan policing. This is totally unacceptable and will taint the ZRP which is mandated by the constitution to be nonpartisan in the execution of its duties.”
The development, Tshuma said, shows ZRP is now a fully-fledged extension of ZANU-PF.
“Whoever made such a call has no more iota of shame left in them at all,” he decried.
“Shame is a critical component in humanity since it stops us from doing certain things. For an institution that wants to continue being respected, it is utterly disgusting to have such gutter rubbish associated with the country’s chief policing organisation.”
He said in such a scenario the CCC should seek redress.
“They (CCC) should approach the office that issued such conditions and ask them to withdraw some of these conditions,” suggested the political analyst.
“The alternative is to ignore them. Such conditions are unconstitutional in any case. They can just ignore the unreasonable conditions and just ensure that their members conduct themselves in an orderly and nonviolent manner. You don’t want to arm those who have chosen to be against you with reasons to continue portraying you as a violent lot.”
Sipho Nyoni, another political analyst, described the conditions as selective and deliberately meant to make the CCC rally a flop.
“This means the same rules that apply to everyone else are somewhat different when applied to the CCC which makes a mockery of our laws and constitutionality as a country,” Nyoni told CITE.
“The police application of the law is shocking to say the least. Only in a banana republic like what Zimbabwe has turned out to be, can one find such selective application of the law. This puts into question the impartiality of the police and makes a mockery of their professionalism, that’s if they even have any professionalism to begin with.”
He advised CCC to refuse to hold its star rally under such conditions.
“ZANU PF had declared ‘opposition dead,’” said Rejoice Ngwenya, also a political analyst.
“These conditions show fear and a total disregard for constitutional rights to assembly and association. They reinforce the perception of dictatorship. ZRP is showing selective application of the law. No such conditions were imposed on the Epworth rally. There were buses from everywhere. I was also there. There were no masks or social distancing.”
Ngwenya added: “CCC should immediately appeal to the High Court. Also, CCC has a right to defy a bad law.”