ED slams police bid to block Chamisa Press conference

Mr Nelson Chamisa

Mr Nelson Chamisa

Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday condemned attempts by the police to block a press conference addressed by losing presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance in Harare yesterday.

Mr Chamisa who lost to President Mnangagwa in the July 30 elections eventually addressed local and foreign journalists at the Bronte Hotel following the intervention of the Acting Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services and Zanu-PF spokesperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo.

Posting on his Twitter account, President Mnangagwa said investigations were underway to establish what exactly happened.

“The scenes today at the Bronte Hotel have no place in our society and we are urgently investigating the matter to understand exactly what happened. Over the past nine months we have protected freedom of speech, of assembly and the right to criticise the government,” said Cde Mnangagwa.

“This is an indispensable part of the new Zimbabwe. It is non-negotiable and will not change. We won the election freely and fairly, and have nothing to hide or fear. Anyone is free to address the media at any time.”

The Zimbabwe Republic Police, after the incident, issued an apology saying they had received intelligence that the MDC Alliance was holding an illegal meeting.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police sincerely regrets the inconvenience that took place at the venue of the MDC Alliance Press Conference this afternoon.

“Given the prevailing security situation and events that unfolded on August 1, 2018 and intelligence at hand, the police responded purely on the basis of tenets governing meetings and gatherings according to the country’s laws,” the police said in a statement.

“We wish to state that the police had information to the effect that there was a public gathering which was unlawful and had intentions to disrupt the prevailing peaceful environment.

“The ZRP sincerely apologises and wish to state that we respect freedom of the media, freedom of expression, and freedom association as provided for by the Zimbabwean laws.

“This isolated incident should not be misconstrued to mean that we are heavy handed. We have a constitutional mandate to ensure that law and order is maintained.”

The MDC Alliance on Wednesday incited its members to conduct protests in Harare which turned violent and led to the destruction of property and loss of lives.