POLICE in Harare yesterday cancelled the opposition MDC Renewal Team’s inaugural congress scheduled to open in the capital today, saying the venue for the congress had already been booked by the United Family International Church led by Emmanuel Makandiwa.\r\nBY SILAS NKALA\r\n\r\n\r\nIn a statement, Officer Commanding Harare Central, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, said the opposition party’s event would only be sanctioned if they rescheduled the dates.\r\n\r\n“This office did not approve the event due to the fact that another event by United Family International was already booked at the same venue (City Sports Centre) and same dates,” Saunyama said.\r\ncharity charamba\r\n\r\nBut national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was not aware of the issue.\r\n\r\n“I was in a workshop the whole day, and am not aware of this development,” she said.\r\n\r\nThe MDC Renewal Team had wanted to use the congress to facilitate election of its substantive leadership and officially change the party’s name to People’s Democratic Party (PDP). About 7 000 delegates had reportedly registered for the congress.\r\n\r\nIn a statement following cancellation of its congress, the party accused police of taking orders from the ruling Zanu PF party.\r\n\r\n“It is clear that Zanu PF sees the institutionalisation of our party and its existence thereof as a major threat,” read the statement.\r\n\r\nBulawayo provincial spokesperson Fortune Mlalazi yesterday said the congress was likely to be rescheduled to September 4.\r\n\r\n“The Zanu PF government may block all efforts to have people liberated from its rule, but it must know that the process may be delayed but surely liberation will come. We cannot have the police blocking people from conducting their meetings in a country said to be independent and democratic,” Mlalazi said. – NewsDay