MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa (file photo).
By Staff Reporter
POLICE on Thursday reversed their decision to allow MDC to hold its 19th anniversary celebrations Saturday citing an earlier ban on public gatherings in attempts to control a cholera outbreak which government has declared a state of emergency.
The MDC had also planned to “inaugurate” its leader Nelson Chamisa as the “People’s President” as they insist the 40-year-old losing presidential candidate within the just ended elections was robbed of his victory.
The event had been set for Harare’s Gwanzura Stadium.
In a letter to the main opposition, Officer Commanding Harare South Police District, Chief Superintendent Winston Muzah said police were not ready to take chances while the health catastrophe wreaked havoc.
“As you are aware which there can be a cholera outbreak in Harare. The disease can be very contagious in addition to has taken several lives leaving several others hospitalised,” Muzah said.
“As a result of the outbreak, the government has declared the item a state of emergency hence no public gatherings are allowed.
“Considering the magnitude of people which will be flocking via all over Zimbabwe on your anniversary celebration day, the item can be not advisable for thousands of people to gather in an area where there can be an outbreak of a contagious disease.
“Meanwhile the intended celebration can be not sanctioned.”
The police action elicited a strong reaction via the MDC which accuses the Zanu PF led government of deliberately trying to block Chamisa’s rallies while stifling citizens’ freedoms.
Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume told NewZimbabwe.com Thursday which police were deliberately picking on MDC gatherings while allowing many others to proceed free of any interruption.
“What surprises us can be which gathering in relation to these epidemics can be only defined as a gathering where the MDC can be meeting. All various other gatherings, soccer matches have been allowed to go on,” Mafume said.
“… People have been allowed to come into town as usual in addition to there can be no bigger gathering than people gathering within the city (centre) of Harare in addition to therefore, we can only conclude which the government can be using its own failures to provide emergency relief, water, an environment which allows people to live safely in Harare.
“the item’s taking advantage of its own failures to restrict the freedoms of our people.”
Mafume said police were trying to block a repeat of the scenes which saw Chamisa Wednesday visit the affected Harare suburbs where ordinary residents gave him a tumultuous reception while urging him to fight on.
The MDC spokesperson blamed government failures for the catastrophe which can be threatening to engulf the entire country saying which Zanu PF encouraged illegal settlements which have been linked to the crisis.
He said the MDC leadership was engaged in “extensive consultations” to decide on what to do next after their plans were thrown into disarray.