Police quash opposition’s planned protests in Bulawayo


BULAWAYO – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has thwarted plans by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) to stage peaceful protests in Bulawayo over the contentious issue of recalls that saw 15 of its legislators expelled from Parliament and 17 councillors recalled. 

Police have successfully disrupted CCC’s planned peaceful protests in Bulawayo. [Image: NewsDay]

The CCC had notified the authorities of their intention to hold a peaceful demonstration at the Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo on October 23. 

The protest aimed to petition the Minister of State and Devolution Bulawayo Province over the contentious recalls.

Police replied to the CCC that it had received its notification dated 16th October to hold peaceful protests, but denied to grant permission to the opposition party. 

“Please note that your notification does not comply with the mandatory provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA). Be guided accordingly,” the police said in its letter. 

In November 2019, the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA) replaced the more repressive Public Order and Security Act, though MOPA retains heavy assembly restrictions.

Yesterday, CCC announced plans to hold nationwide protests beginning Monday challenging the recall of its Members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors.

The opposition is of the belief that its members have been unfairly targeted and persecuted through the recalls.

A CCC member claiming to be the party’s interim secretary-general based in Bulawayo, Sengezo Tshabangu, recalled 15 opposition MPs and 17 councillors claiming they had ceased to be members of the party.

Promise Mkwananzi, CCC’s interim spokesperson, stated yesterday that peaceful protests are their only political recourse, particularly in Bulawayo where most MPs were recalled. He warned that if their concerns are not addressed, they will escalate their actions.

“We are escalating our game. If they do not attend to the issues that we have put before them, surely we are going to take other steps,” he said.

“We have an option of going for peaceful protests and we have said that Mr (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa, the sooner you engage, the better for you. He should expect more massive protests coming and he should be prepared.”

At a press conference in Harare yesterday, CCC deputy spokesperson Ostallos Siziba highlighted claims of a constitutional crisis stemming from an election process flagged as fraudulent by observer missions. 

He reaffirmed citizens’ constitutional right to express grievances regarding these flawed elections.

“We firmly affirm that it is the fundamental constitutional right of citizens to express their grievances regarding the deeply flawed August 23 elections,” Siziba said

“With unwavering determination, we are committed to pursuing our diverse initiatives aimed at resolving the prevailing constitutional crisis.

“As emphasized before, it is imperative for Zimbabweans to assert their dissatisfaction with the manner in which the election process, as outlined in section 59 of the constitution, was conducted.”

The CCC has vowed to maintain pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF. 

The party’s leader, Nelson Chamisa, has been tasked with pursuing dialogue with Mnangagwa, civil society, and church leaders to find potential solutions to the current political stalemate.

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