Police have barred the Zanu (PF) Harare Province from holding a “peaceful march” Tuesday, the same day the MDC-T is holding its own demonstrations for electoral reforms.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has turned down our request for a police clearance citing that a certain political party had been granted permission prior to our application,” said Godwin Gomwe in a statement issued Monday evening.
Gomwe is chairman of the Zanu PF Harare Province Youth League, and was the brains behind the planned solidarity march.
“As a leadership we automatically accepted and embraced this decision by the Police.”
While the MDC-T had made public their intentions to hold their march from as early as last week, the decision by Zanu PF to hold its own march on the same day and at the same time raised eyebrows.
“Zanu PF was acting as if Tuesday was the only day in the week on which it can hold its march,” said one concerned citizen who requested anonymity.
“While President Mnangagwa is preaching peace wherever he goes, certain elements in Zanu PF were keen to see bloodshed in the streets of Harare when the two political parties clashed. It just goes to show some things never change.”
Another resident said the decision by Police to deny Zanu PF permission to hold its march on the same day and at the same time as the MDC-T’s was clear indication the Police were turning over a new leaf.
“If this was 2017, the Police would have granted Zanu PF permission to march, knowing fully well it would result in violence,” said the Harare resident.
Gomwe said all “bonafide members of Zanu PF are hereby instructed not to engage in any actions that may resemble a solidarity march tomorrow as such actions are not only illegal but are unsanctioned by your leadership”.
“I take this opportunity to encourage all Zimbabweans to engage in peaceful and law-abiding politics as we play our part in this new dispensation of mature politics. We urge as well, the ZRP to arrest without fear or favour all persons who breach the peace in our country,” he said.
“To all Zanu PF cadres, let us keep campaigning peacefully and be vigilant in the face of a provocative opposition whose embrace of impending electoral defeat is unfounded attempts to discredit our elections without just cause.”
The Zanu PF solidarity march will now be held on Wednesday.