Police Bar MDC Rally

MASVINGO – A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rally which was scheduled for Saturday this week on Independence Day has been cancelled after the police denied the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party clearance, an official said.

MDC provincial spokesperson Wilstuff Sitemere told reporters that the police reversed a decision which had allowed them to stage a rally at Nemanwa Growth Point, South of Masvingo town.

“The police just made an about turn and informed us today (Tuesday)  that we can no longer go ahead with the rally. They said it was not inthe interests of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA),” Sitemere said.

He said the police, under the instruction of ZANU PF politicians, accused the MDC of trying to ‘sabotage the independence’ celebrations as they knew many people would rather turn up for an MDC rally than go for the celebrations where the same old Robert Mugabe rhetoric might be the order of the day.

“They accused us of sabotage, arguing that people may snub the Independence celebrations, which are ‘very important for the country’s history as it is the day that we finally liberated ourselves from the York of imperialism’,” said the MDC provincial chairperson.

Sitemere blasted the actions by the police, saying it is not in the best interests of the inclusive government formed two months ago, as well as the interests of the Zimbabweans.

“This is against the spirit of togetherness and national healing as espoused in the unity government. We wonder where the police got their orders from,” he said.Acting provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Tinaye Matake said the rally had not been banned but re-scheduled.

“We did not ban their rally. What we just said was that the 18th of April is a national day, not a party day, hence they have to findanother day. We put the interests of the nation above party interests. Furthermore, supporters may get drunk resulting in disorderly behavior that may disturb public order and peace,” Ass Insp Matake said.

Radio VOP could not get a comment from Giles Mutsekwa, MDC Home Affairs Minister who is co-chairing with ZANU PF’s Kembo Mohadi. Mutsekwa was involved in a car accident at the weekend, but escaped unhurt.