By A Correspondent- As the nation gears for the March 26 by-elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted his party’s failures exonerating the electorate in Binga for not voting for Zanu PF for the past 20 years.
Mnangagwa, who was addressing party stalwarts under Chief Siabuwa in Matabeleland North, where he officially commissioned and handed over the Binga-Kariba fishing rigs to the local community said his party had ignored Binga under the late President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
“I want to tell you the truth. Under President Robert Mugabe’s administration, we never used to come here. Please forgive us for not coming here, but from today onwards, things have changed.”
Mnangagwa’s rally comes on the backdrop of a rally ban on the newly formed Citizens Coalition Change led by President Nelson Chamisa.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) blocked the CCC from holding a campaign rally on 15 March in Siabuwa, Binga.
Officer Commanding Hwange District Chief Superintendent Agnes Robert told CCC that since there was a pending Hwange visit by Mnangagwa, the police did not have enough manpower to monitor the CCC rally in Binga.
CCC aspiring legislator for Binga North Prince Dubeko Sibanda on Friday said the party’s lawyers were challenging the police ban at court.
“Initially, we had applied that the Binga rally takes place on March 3, but police told us that Mnangagwa was set to visit Binga on the 5th, of which the dates were near each other.
We then applied for the 15th, but they are now telling us stories saying that Mnangagwa will visit Hwange on the 17th and, therefore, the police does not have enough manpower to monitor the Binga rally.
It is surprising because Tsholotsho is in the same province as Hwange and the same police officers that will be deployed at Mnangagwa’s event in Hwange are the same police officers that were set to be deployed at our rally in Tsholotsho (14th) and Binga on the 15th.”
According to a report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project Monthly Monitoring Report 2022 titled “Four Weeks In March”, Zimbabwe witnessed an unprecedented increase in politically motivated human rights violations designed to suppress campaigns by the newly formed CCC ahead of the by-elections held on March 26.
According to the report, it was clear that “President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration was not prepared or willing to ensure free, fair and open political and human rights friendly environment and was prepared to do anything – hook or crook-to take advantage of incumbency at election time.
Read the report:
“In the run up to the 2018 election, the then biggest opposition party, MDC Alliance held its rallies without the police banning them.
The situation was to change in 2022 when police banned five CCC rallies and at one of those, in Gokwe, they fired teargas and brutally descended on party supporters who had turned up for the rally.
Out of the five two went ahead in Masvingo and Epworth when the party approached the courts. What was also baffling was the conditions set out for the CCC to hold rallies; they were not allowed to bus in their supporters while that condition never applied to Zanu PF where supporters were bussed in to all their rallies.
The bans on rallies marked a fresh low in Zimbabwean politics and prove that in 2018, government just intended to window dress since it was fresh from a coup. What this also means is that in the run up to the 2023 elections, the environment is likely to be marked by more State interference into campaigns of the opposition parties, especially the CCC, which has put up a good show in the March by-elections by winning 19 out of the 28 contested.”