ZRP denies approval for MDC T demonstration

Libinance Dokora

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC T) leader, Douglas Mwonzora has expressed his disappointment over the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s refusal to grant approval for a demonstration.

The demonstration was intended to protest what Mwonzora and his party referred to as electoral irregularities by the electoral board. This decision comes in the wake of Mwonzora’s withdrawal from the presidential race, citing mismanagement of elections by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The opposition leader emphasised that his aspiration for the highest office in the country could not materialize into effective governance without proper representation in the House of Assembly.

Mwonzora placed the blame on ZEC for failing to submit the nomination papers of 87 of his parliamentary candidates in the nomination court.
In a statement, Aaron Makahamadze, the Acting Secretary for Information and Publicity of the MDC T, said that the ban on their demonstration by law enforcement is an affront to democracy in the country.

He indicated that this denial infringes upon their constitutional rights as a political party to voice their concerns.

Makahamadze stated, “The state’s action is a clear example of closing democratic space, which contradicts the fundamental principles of a free and open society. As an organisation dedicated to upholding democratic values, we believe that the right to protest is a crucial avenue for citizens to express their grievances, concerns, and aspirations.”

He added that the prohibition of their demonstration exacerbates the serious challenges already posed by ZEC and the judiciary.

The denial of access for 87 of the party’s parliamentary candidates to participate in the National Assembly elections exemplifies the broader pattern of difficulties faced by the party.

“It is essential to recognise that this incident is part of a broader pattern of challenges confronting our party. Recently, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) denied us the opportunity to participate in the upcoming harmonised elections scheduled for August 23, 2023.

“This has consequently resulted in the exclusion of representation for 87 of our candidates and the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people unjustly deprived of their voting rights,” Makahamadze said.

The opposition party had anticipated a significant turnout for the planned demonstration. MDC attributed their setbacks to the judicial system’s perceived decline and asserted that their pursuit of justice remains unyielding.

The party declared their intention to take further actions in their pursuit of justice and equality.

“Regrettably, it seems that hope for justice within the country’s judiciary is diminishing. We refuse to be silenced or discouraged in our pursuit of justice and equality for all. Our dedication to democratic principles remains steadfast, and we are in the process of devising our next steps in this ongoing struggle for the freedom and rights of the people of Zimbabwe,” proclaimed the opposition party.

With the national elections scheduled for next Wednesday, the country is poised for a significant political event. Ten candidates are in the running for the presidential office after Mwonzora’s withdrawal from the race.

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