HARARE – The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) on Friday went to court after police blocked the party from staging a campaign rally in Marondera on Saturday.
Police have also “prohibited” the party from staging a rally in Binga, Matabeleland North, on March 15, CCC provincial chairman Prince Dubeko Sibanda said.
Sibanda on Friday travelled to Hwange for a meeting with senior police officers where he registered his party’s disquiet with the decision. More meetings were planned, he said.
The CCC rallies come ahead of by-elections for 28 National Assembly and 121 municipal seats on March 26.
Political parties and other groups are required by law to notify police about large gatherings. Police have used that legal provision to issue prohibitions, which are almost exclusively dished out to the opposition, trade unions and other critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Marondera police said the CCC notification to stage a rally was “invalid” because it contained plans for a “car rally” near Rudhaka Stadium, the venue.
Police said their understanding of a car rally was a “procession that requires seven days’ notice” under the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said their lawyer Jeremiah Bamu had approached the High Court on an urgent basis to fight the prohibition.
Simultaneously, a second lawyer Obey Shava had written to the police “advising them that the CCC was now doing away with the mini car rally aspect,” the ZLHR said.
Chamisa plans to address four rallies between Saturday and Tuesday. The Marondera rally will be the first, followed by Beitbridge on Sunday, Tsholotsho on Monday and Binga on Tuesday.
CCC spokesman Gift Ostallos Siziba said their rallies would go ahead as planned.
“If they don’t want election, they better say it,” he said. “This country belongs to all of us. Tomorrow we are in Marondera to present the alternative to the citizens in Mashonaland East.”