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Police disrupt Tsvangirai rally

MDC-T had on Friday secured a High Court order overturning a decision by Matabeleland North police to bar Tsvangirai from addressing the weekend rallies in Nkayi North and South constituencies.

 

A truck load of police officers descended on the venue in Nkayi South and despite being shown the court order, they demanded that the crowd of about  1 000 people disperse immediately.

Plain clothed police officers travelling in two vehicles also arrived at the scene.

Tsvangirai and other MDC-T officials tried to reason with the police officers who responded by threatening to call for more reinforcements.

The PM then stopped the meeting as the situation was turning volatile. But that was after he demanded that police show him more respect.

“I have a message for the police: does Mugabe apply to hold meetings such as these?

“I hold the same executive powers as Mugabe,” Tsvangirai said. “I deserve the same respect as Mugabe.

“Mugabe is too old and he must step down.”

In seeking to bar the rally, the police had reportedly claimed it would turn violent.

But a few kilometres from the venue in Gwelutshena, Zanu PF’s Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni was allowed to proceed with her rally.

Abedinico Bhebhe, the MDC-T deputy organising secretary and former Nkayi South legislator said the party would deal with police officers disrupting its activities when it wins the next elections.

“The MDC, starting from today, will be writing names of the police officers who are working against the wishes of the people,” he said.

“Once the MDC goes into government we will retire such officers.”

Matabeleland North police have been preventing Tsvangirai from campaigning in the province since the run up to the June 27 2008 presidential run-off poll.

His armoured BMW campaign car was seized by police in the provincial capital, Lupane and has not been released.

Tsvangirai, who had won the first round of the vote, was eventually forced to boycott the run-off poll by violence on his supporters blamed on security forces.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai told the rally that elections could be held in the last quarter of next year despite Mugabe’s wish that they be held by March.

He said the 87-year-old ruler would not be able to unilaterally call for the polls and the MDC-T would not take part in any elections before the playing field was levelled.

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