HomeLocalPolice ban MDC-T rallies for fear of Egypt-style protests

Police ban MDC-T rallies for fear of Egypt-style protests

The MDC-T is holding restructuring meetings ahead of its congress expected in May.

Sources said the police and army were on high alert amid fears of a repeat of the Egypt and Tunisia uprisings that toppled entrenched dictatorships.
At least 45 activists, including former MDC-T MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, are in remand prison after they were charged with treason for watching a video of the North African protests.

Last week planned demonstrations against President Robert Mu-gabe’s 31-year long rule failed to take off after a heavy deployment of police and soldiers.

Lucia Matibenga, an MDC-T executive member who had travelled to Bulawayo to oversee the province’s restructuring yesterday said they were forced to disperse after police in riot gear descended on the venue.

“We have a congress coming and so we are in the middle of restructuring and because of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) we have to seek police clearance and that is why we were holding the meeting inside our party offices,” she said.

“At about 12 noon two police officers, Superintendent Fumai and another Superintendent Moyo came to our offices saying they had been sent by a Chief Superintendent Masina to tell us to disperse because the country was on high alert.”

Matibenga said she tried to reason with the officers that the meeting was private to no avail.

Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena professed ignorance when asked about the ban yesterday.

But a tough-talking MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti described the police actions as “fascist”.

He said the MDC-T may be forced to review its participation in the inclusive government if the trend continued.

“The police have no powers to stop public gatherings and the police can’t be the agency and hangman of a fading and expiring political party,” Biti said.

He said the arrests of activists, including Gwisai and MDC-T MP Douglas Mwonzora, were in violation of the constitution.

Police have also refused to grant the Welshman Ncube-led MDC permission to hold a rally on March 12.

But Zanu PF was allowed to hold its rally at the Glamis Arena on Wednesday where President Robert Mugabe launched the party’s anti-sanctions petition.

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