In a sudden turn of events police on Monday declined permission for a Zanu PF “peace demonstration” that was meant to be a counter attraction to an MDC-T march set for Harare.
Zanu PF Harare youth league leader Godwin Gomwe, in a statement, announced the march in support of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call for free, fair and credible election would now be held on an as yet to be announced date.
For years under former President Robert Mugabe, police were accused of being an extension of Zanu PF’s election machinery, often banning opposition programs on flimsy grounds.
“I am communicating with you all with regards to the solidarity march for peace that we had scheduled for tomorrow the 5th of June 2018. As a peaceful and law abiding Youth League we had taken precaution and sought police clearance for our solidarity march.
“However, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has turned down our request for a police clearance citing that a certain political party had been granted permission prior to our application,” Gomwe said. “As a leadership we automatically accepted and embraced this decision by the police.”
He added: “All bonafide members of Zanu PF are hereby instructed not to engage in any actions that may resemble a solidarity march tomorrow as such actions are not only illegal but are unsanctioned by your leadership.”
Gomwe pleaded for peaceful campaigns in the run up to the July 30 general elections urging the police to arrest perpetrators “without fear of favour.”
The MDC-T has called for a shutdown in Harare demanding electoral reforms including access to the voters roll, information on the identity of the company the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has contracted to print the ballots among other issues.
Gomwe urged Zanu PF youths to guard against provocation.
“To all Zanu PF cadres, let us keep campaigning peacefully and be vigilant in the face of a provocative opposition whose embrace of impending electoral defeat is unfounded attempts to discredit our elections without just cause,” said Gomwe.
The opposition had reacted angrily to reports that Zanu PF was planning a counter demonstration on the same day it was planning to hold its march in Harare.