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HomePoliticsLeaked Police Memo Orders Officers to Allow Political Rallies Amidst Criticism

Leaked Police Memo Orders Officers to Allow Political Rallies Amidst Criticism

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has directed officers commanding provinces to allow political parties to conduct political rallies in the wake of recent incidents where the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has been banned from holding political rallies, despite duly notifying the police.

The memo dated July 8, 2023 emphasised the need for peaceful and fair elections, urging commanders to adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA).

The communication begins by reminding commanders of the President’s proclamation of 23rd August 2023 as the date for the upcoming Harmonized Elections highlighting his call for peace and tolerance in the lead-up to the elections.

“Commanders are reminded that the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe His Excellency, Cde ED Mnangagwa has proclaimed the 23rd of August 2023 as the date for the 2023 Harmonised Elections. The President has on numerous occasions also preached the gospel of peace and tolerance ahead of the impending elections.

“It is against this background that commanders are urged to ensure that all the processes relating to elections are done peacefully and in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13 and the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA) Chapter 11:23,” read the memo

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The memo further acknowledges the growing outcry on social media platforms saying the incidents have tarnished the credibility of the electoral processes.

“Of late, social media has been awash with incidences where some political parties claim to have been denied the right to hold their rallies by the Police resulting in skirmishes. These skirmishes are discrediting the electoral processes, as such, commanders are requested to ensure that political parties are allowed to hold rallies unless there are very valid reasons to warrant such rejections. Under such circumstances, Regulating Authorities are urged to thoroughly consult before coming up with decisions to deny any political player opportunity to hold a rally or meeting.”

It also emphasised that the actions of the police should not undermine the integrity of the electoral processes urging officers to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Electoral Act and MOPA to make well-informed decisions.

“Commanders should note that for elections to be deemed free, fair, peaceful and credible, the playing field should be reckoned as level, hence the Police actions should not discredit the electoral processes. The Regulatory Authorities should acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Electoral Act and MOPA so as to make informed decisions. The purpose of this legal instrument is for the police to prepare and take actions aimed at ensuring that any political activity is done peacefully.” read the memo

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There has been growing concern especially from the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa after the police banned their rally in Bindura yesterday on the grounds that the venue that was set to hold the rally had no ablution facilities and proper roads.

The opposition movement filed a court application against the ban and was subsequently dismissed by the Bindura Magistrates yesterday.

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