The Zimbabwe Republic Police clarifies and sets the record straight on security arrangements and the holding of political rallies in view of the current campaigns by parties and aspiring candidates for the scheduled Bye-Elections set for March 26, 2022
Firstly, it is the responsibility of a convener to notify the local regulating authority who is the Officer Commanding a Police District, of the intention to hold a rally in line with provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA), Chapter 11:23.
It is not just a case of notification, the convener has a responsibility to discuss and agree on the security and safety measures to be availed at the rally for the benefit of the public and the community in general.
sadly, the police has noted with concern that some political parties are adopting a confrontational approach when notifying the regulating authorities on their intended rallies.
We are also concerned that some of the conveners and their legal advisors are resorting to communicating wrong information to their supporters and also using social media to post communication details with the Police without exhausting all the legal remedies provided for under the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA), Chapter 11:23.
In the case of Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC)’s Marondera rally, it is clear that the convener had not complied with relevant provisions of MOPA and was duly advised by the regulating authority, however, the convener and their lawyers insisted that the rally will go ahead while at the same time a court process was in motion at the High Court and subsequently at the local Magistrate Court after Justice Mungwari had ruled that the CCC convener had to exhaust all the domestic legal remedies provided under MOPA before holding a rally. This is on record.
However, on the ground, the convener had already mobilized CCC supporters to gather without sanctioning and conclusion of the court proceedings. The Police has a constitutional responsibility to ensure that all the country’s laws are observed and complied with. In this case the rally could not be sanctioned without the due processes being followed.
It is sad that some political parties are resorting to acts which clearly show that they are not observing law and are acting as a law onto themselves.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police will not compromise on security and safety of the public and expect political party conveners to lead by example and avoid misleading the public. In the same vein, Police reiterates that anyone holding or hosting car rallies will be arrested without fear or favour. Recently the Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested 26 suspects in Harare and Masvingo for holding car rallies while in the process they were blocking traffic, interfering with the smooth movement of the traffic and chanting slogans which include obscene language. The Zimbabwe Republic Police will not hesitate to name and shame politicians who are clearly contravening the law. Political parties are warned against disrespecting the Police, acting as if there are no laws to be observed in the country or untouchable institutions and entities.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is ready to ensure that the forthcoming.
Bye-elections are held in a peaceful environment. Therefore any form of lawlessness by individuals, groups or political parties will not be tolerated.
The law will be applied without fear or favour.
(NYATHI. P) Assistant Commissioner
Senior Staff Officer (Press, Public and Int. Relations)