Police ban MRP Tsholotsho rally -The Southern Eye

POLICE have rejected a request by the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) to hold a meeting today at the Mbambangamandla shopping center in Tsholotsho South, citing threats to security across the district.

Responding to a letter from MRP notifying the police of the gathering at the location, Superintendent M Tandabantu rejected MRP’s notification for security reasons in a letter dated May 17, 2024.

Reacting to the ban, MRP president Mqondisi Moyo said the police claims lacked truth regarding security issues.

“I am writing to you on behalf of MRP in response to your letter of May 17, which denies our request to hold a meeting at Mbambangamandla Shopping Center in Tsholotsho South on May 21,” Moyo’s response read.

“We acknowledge receipt of your correspondence citing threats to security in and around Tsholotsho as reason for rejecting our application. However, we must express our deep disappointment and concern at the lack of transparency and truthfulness in the police’s continued denials of our meeting requests.

“It is regrettable that a similar flimsy excuse was also used on December 29, 2023 to deny us the right to exercise our democratic freedoms.”

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Moyo said the police actions undermined the principles of democracy and freedom of assembly, while noting that the MRP firmly believes that every political party has the right to convene meetings and engage with its members and the public without unjustified obstacles.

“We have diligently followed the legal procedures outlined in the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Mopa) (Chapter 11:23) in submitting our application, and we expect fair and impartial treatment from the authorities,” Moyo said in response to the police. .

He stated that Zimbabwe’s laws are designed to strengthen the rights of citizens to assemble, assemble peacefully, associate without restriction and travel the country.

Moyo further argued that despite diligent compliance with notification requirements, deadlines and security consultations, the police arbitrarily revoked authorization for the MRP political conference just hours before its scheduled start.

“This sudden cancellation, supposedly due to an alleged labor shortage, appeared to be a pretext, especially given the significant police presence deployed to obstruct the meeting.

“The police, as the regulatory authority, had initially authorized the conference to be held at Nketa Hall on December 28 and 29, 2023. However, on December 28, more than 100 police officers, including fully armed riot officers and fully clothed officers in civilian clothes, were arrested. deployed to disrupt the meeting.

“If the police persist in their arbitrary and clandestine conduct towards political entities, the MRP warns that future events could be carried out clandestinely, bypassing official reporting channels,” he said.

He urged the police to engage MRP leaders in open and constructive dialogue to address genuine security concerns while respecting their rights as a political organisation.

The police have not yet responded to the MRP’s follow-up letter regarding the ban on their gathering.

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