President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is headed for fresh clashes with the opposition MDC Alliance after police Thursday banned party leader Nelson Chamisa’s Kwekwe rally citing a typhoid outbreak.
The main opposition was left fuming Thursday while declaring it was going to challenge the ban in the courts.
The rally, the first since Chamisa lost the presidential election to President Mnangagwa July 30, was set for the Midlands city’s Mbizo Shopping Centre on Sunday.
It was also first among a planned series of “thank-you” rallies which have been lined up countrywide by the opposition chief.
MDC Thursday confirmed police used the outbreak of typhoid in Gweru as pretext to ban the opposition mass event.
Charles Dhiwa, the rally convenor, said police had summoned him to a meeting to discuss the issue.
“I am told police called and wanted a meeting. I am out of town and Honourable Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo MP-elect) was standing in for me. He has the finer details. We actually expected the police to ban the rally,” Dhiwa said.
Chikwinya was however not available for comment.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said the opposition party was planning to approach the High Court to get an order to compel police to accede to its request.
“They may as well have communicated with our structures at the lowest level and information is coming from all over. As a precautionary measure, our organising department has approached the High Court for an order to force the police to allow us to have the rally.
“It’s going ahead because the fact that it is the police talking about a typhoid scare in the city is ridiculous. There is no typhoid in Kwekwe,” said Sibanda.
Party organising secretary Amos Chibaya also confirmed police had rejected their notice to hold the rally.
“I received information from our guys on the ground indicating that police have banned the rally,” he said.
“What is shocking is that while police claim the reason we cannot hold the rally is to avoid typhoid, there is a football match scheduled for Sunday between Chapungu and Triangle football clubs in Gweru where officially typhoid has been detected.
“We are going ahead with our rally because we have complied with the law by notifying the authorities four days before the event.”
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