The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Wednesday opposed the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rally scheduled for tomorrow in Epworth, a populous dormitory settlement outside Harare.
Epworth is a known hotbed of opposition politics.
The ban brings to four, the CCC rallies that the police has barred in recent weeks.
In a letter addressed to the CCC organising secretary for Epworth, Patrick Moyo, the officer commanding Harare East District where Epworth lies who was identified as Chief Superintended C Muzivi said the area police were experiencing a manpower shortage and could, therefore, not cover the rally.
“I acknowledge receipt of your notification letter dated 21 March 2022 in respect of the above heading whereby you intend to hold a public political gathering at Olympic Stadium, Epworth, Harare, on 24th of March 2022 from 1100 hours to 1600 hours.
“However, your meeting has not been sanctioned for security reasons,” he said.
Curiously, the 22 March letter was stamped by a lower ranking officer.
It indicated that it had been stamped from the Superintendent Crime 2 office under Harare suburban district.
An officer who commands a district or any other office must have his own date stamp.
The ruling Zanu PF party successfully held a star rally in Epworth recently, ahead of the by-elections scheduled for Saturday this week.
Respective parties are contesting for 28 parliamentary and more than 100 council seats that fell vacant due to recalls, death or reassignment of members.
Today (23 March 2022) President Emmerson Mnangagwa is holding a rally in Chitungwiza.
“We have no adequate manpower to cover the meeting. Our manpower have already been deployed to various polling stations in preparation for the by-elections slated for Saturday 26 March 22,” said the district police commander.
Since February, the police have banned CCC rallies in Gokwe, Marondera and Masvingo, in addition to the Epworth one.
The CCC has had to resort to the courts, which have okayed the rallies, but often too late for the political gatherings to proceed.
A CCC member told Grazers News that they were taking the Epworth matter to court.
The CCC spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, was not picking calls while her deputy, Gift Ostalos Siziba, could not be reached on his mobile phone.