Police ban fourth CCC campaign rally, lawyers file court challenge

HARARE – Police have banned a campaign rally by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Tafara, Harare, claiming the intended venue – Chemhanza Grounds – “has other political players undertaking their activities.”

It is the fourth CCC rally to be banned by police on flimsy grounds inside a month, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said.

The lawyers filed an urgent High Court application on Tuesday to overturn the ban.

Wednesday’s rally at Chemhanza Grounds in Harare East constituency is set to be addressed by CCC deputy leader and MP candidate Tendai Biti, second vice president Karenyi Kore, secretary general Charlton Hwende and vice chairman Job Sikhala.

Hwende said the police actions showed that Zanu PF was “scared.”

Last week, a court overturned a police ban on a CCC rally in Masvingo. There, police claimed a football ground where the party planned to stage its rally had been booked for a Zanu PF rally on the same day.

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa eventually used an open ground in Rujeko A for his rally, while Mucheke Stadium – where Zanu PF allegedly had a rally according to police – hosted a social soccer match.

The CCC, which was launched in January, accuses Zanu PF of abusing state institutions including the police to prevent it from mobilising.

A CCC supporters was killed by Zanu PF thugs who attacked a CCC rally in Kwekwe, before police used tear gas and water canons to crush another rally in Gokwe. Police banned another rally in Marondera, with dozens of police officers deployed to block access to Rudhaka Stadium.

Meanwhile, Biti on Tuesday said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had “refused” to give their candidates the voters roll for Saturday’s by-elections.

“It’s a travesty,” Biti said. “The truth of the matter is that ZEC is captured and must be disbanded. It is but a mere extension of Zanu PF.”

Voters will cast their ballots in 28 National Assembly races and 121 municipal by-elections on Saturday.

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