GUTU – Police have issued a ban on a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rally which the opposition had planned for Gutu’s Dewure Business Centre, further issuing chilling threats against organisers should they defy the order.
In a correspondence to rally organisers, Chief Superintendent Taurai Joakim Mambure, the Regulating Authority Masvingo East Police District, issued the ban while citing a “skeleton” manpower to cover the event as most of the officers were attending a workshop.
The CCC rally had been planned for 13 February 2023.
“The district is running an annual workshop which is being conducted by Officers from Masvingo Provincial Updating Centre,” Mambure said.
“The workshop commenced on 13 February 2023 and is planned to end 26 February 2023.
“All officers in Masvingo District are required to attend the workshop, so the stations are left with skeleton human resource base to cover critical points and react to emergencies.
“Hence considering the expected number of people who are to attend versus the available skeleton manpower, we cannot currently manage.
“Now therefore, I, as the Regulating Officer, do hereby issue this prohibition notice in terms of section 8(9) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Chapter 11:23), prohibiting the holding of a public meeting scheduled for 12/02/23 at Dewure Business Centre, ward 35 Gutu central Constituency from 1000 hours to 1600 hours.”
Mambure threatened tough measures against party politicians who may decide to go against his order.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared in terms of section 8(11) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Chapter 11:23) that any person who knowingly opposes or fails to comply with the prohibition notice shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 14 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding on year or both such fine and such imprisonment.
“The Officer in Charge ZRP Basera is accordingly advised for the necessary monitoring.”
It is the second time in just two months that Mambure has banned a CCC event in the same district.
The top police officer banned a party tree planting initiative which was planned for Gutu December last year.
In banning the tree planting event, Mambure said the same request by CCC had been made by another political party before.
The ban on opposition rallies follows several similar orders directed at CCC events, seen as posing the biggest poll threat to Zanu PF rule.