Police in Zimbabwe arrest 40 CCC party members after 'unsanctioned car rally'
Zimbabwe police arrested 40 members of the main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) including an aspirant MP for blocking traffic on Tuesday in Harare’s Machipisa suburb.
In a statement, police confirmed the arrest of CCC aspirant MP Gladmore Hakata and other opposition members, saying they conducted an “unsanctioned car rally” blocking traffic and disrupting order.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of 40 Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) activists in Machipisa for contravening provisions of the Maintenance of Order and Peace Act.”
“Circumstances are that the CCC convener, Lawrence Materege notified the local Regulating Authority for Harare South of their rally set for Churu Farm on August 15 from 10h00 to 16h00.
“The convener and Gladmore Hakata then decided to divert from the notified rally at Churu Farm and went on a car rally procession from the Glen View area into High Glen Road, Main Street, Machipisa Road into Highfield suburb and stopped at the OK Machipisa traffic lights while openly blocking traffic. They started to chant party slogans and sing.
“A concerned citizen made an official report to the police. The police reacted and arrested 40 CCC activists who were led by Gladmore Hakata. Hakata actually scuffled with the police officers as they effected arrests.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has also recovered the three trucks and radio speakers which were being used by the CCC supporters in the unsanctioned car rally,” read the statement.
Video footage posted on social media showed the CCC members clad in yellow work suits and T-shirts, on the back of trucks singing and dancing.
Addressing journalists during a press conference on Wednesday Fadzayi Mahere, spokesperson for the CCC, said the arrests were unlawful.
“As our members were mobilising on their way to a rally, the police ambushed them and unlawfully conducted dragnet arrests. In campaign season, we expect the playing field to be free and fair in as far as campaigning is concerned. We don’t expect Zanu-PF to abuse state institutions to stop our members from campaigning. We demand the release of our 40 members, they committed no crime,” said Mahere.
Zimbabwe will hold presidential and parliamentary elections next week on Wednesday. The main contest is between incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking a second term and Nelson Chamisa, of the CCC.
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