The bans or restrictions have not been extended to the ruling party which has been conducting its rallies, evidently bussing people with hundreds of buses, without hindrance. The police conduct has raised complaints of an unfair political environment towards elections.
The bans which violate the Constitution’s section 67 have made President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge to ensure free and fair elections ring hollow. Stung by the allegations of a sham elections by civil society, the opposition and analysts the police have leaked a memo dated 8 July meant for provincial commanders, instructing them to stop restricting opposition rallies.
“Of late, social media has been awash with incidences where political parties claim to have been denied the right to hold their rallies by the police resulting in skirmishes,” the memo said, whose authenticity the police confirmed on its Twitter on July 10. “These skirmishes are discrediting the electoral processes, as such, commanders are requested to ensure that political parties are allowed to hold rallies unless there are very valid reasons to warrant such rejections.”
Barely days after the memo police notifications were circulated on social media showing continue bans of opposition rallies, including in Gokwe South and Zengeza East. Though the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is mandated by Section 239 of the Constitution to instruct people employed by the State to ensure free and fair elections, the commission has ignored these developments.