The Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday deployed its officers in huge numbers in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) and surrounding areas, to thwart a possible MDC Alliance demonstration which the authorities had banned on Tuesday.
Apart from this, authorities have also deployed more than 70 000 officers across the country for Monday’s crunch harmonised elections.
Yesterday, water cannons and truckloads of heavily armed Support Unit officers were stationed at Africa Unity Square, as well as the open space near the Harare Magistrates’ Court — which is commonly referred to as Freedom Square.
But unlike during the era of former president Robert Mugabe, the deployed officers did not beat and harass people going about their normal business.
Yesterday’s heavy police presence comes after Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga warned on Tuesday that authorities would be ready to deal with any flash points in the run-up to Monday’s elections.
“The ZRP is ready and fully geared to ensure that the harmonised elections are held in a peaceful, violence-free and tranquil environment.
“We shall deal decisively with all forms of violence and perpetrators of violence shall be brought to book irrespective of their station in life,” he said.
This was after the MDC Alliance had threatened to force through its plans to demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), despite the rejection of its request by police.
The main opposition has been feuding with Zec over its demands for reforms — raising fears that Zimbabwe could once again be headed for a disputed poll.
However, it announced its cessation of hostilities with Zec yesterday, saying it would no longer hold protests against the under-fire national elections management body.
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