Police ban Chamisa’s final campaign rally in Epworth battleground

HARARE – Nelson Chamisa’s final campaign rally in Epworth on Thursday was banned by police, citing “security reasons.”

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said it had engaged lawyers to fight the “patently illegal” prohibition order issued on Wednesday.

The officer commanding Harare police, a Chief Superintendent C. Muzivi, wrote to the CCC telling the party that “your meeting has not been sanctioned for security reasons.”

He added: “We have no adequate manpower to cover the meeting. Our manpower has already been deployed to various polling stations in preparation for the by-elections slated for Saturday, March 26, 2022.”

It is the fifth CCC rally to be banned by police in the two months leading to the by-elections which feature 28 National Assembly races and 121 municipal contests.

The CCC accuses the ruling Zanu PF party of capturing state institutions, including the police, to prevent it from mobilising.

Human rights lawyer Jeremiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers told ZimLive: “Legal action is being taken against the patently illegal ban and we are hoping the matter will be heard and disposed of before 11AM on tomorrow (Thursday).”

Epworth, which was held by the opposition, could swing either way according to poll watchers.

Zanu PF held it before 2018 when Earthrage Kureva won it for MDC Alliance.

In 2018, Zalerah Makari, the previous Zanu PF MP, stood as independent after losing her party’s primary election to Kudakwashe Damson, splitting Zanu PF vote. Their combined votes were 26,894 while Kureva carried the seat with 26,082.

Damson this time lost in the primary to Makari, and has reportedly put forward his campaign manager Innocent Hazvina to stand as an independent – throwing up all manner of possibilities.

Chamisa is aiming to close his campaign where President Emmerson Mnangagwa kicked off Zanu PF’s on February 12.

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