Between January 1 and July 10, police prohibited 86 events of the ruling Zanu PF party, compared to 65 gatherings of its major challenger CCC during the same period, despite assertions by the opposition party that the police were biassed against it in permitting its public gatherings.
The numbers were supplied by Dr Gerald Gwinji, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, during a briefing of observers and diplomatic missions on the Government’s readiness for next month’s harmonised elections.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade organised the gathering.
Political meetings in the nation, according to Dr. Gwinji, are controlled by the Constitution and the Maintenance of Peace and Security Act.
“Some of the requirements of these laws are that these gatherings are notified to the police to avoid clashes and any other public disorders that might inconvenience members of the public or other parties. All political players are required to comply with these provisions.
“Since January 2023 operational districts across the country are maintaining registers of all notifications to hold public meetings made by political parties. Different political parties have notified police of their gatherings and some have met legal requirements while some did not meet the legal requirements,” Dr Gwinji said.
He said since January 2023, Zanu PF had sent 1 437 notifications to the police to hold public gatherings with 1 351 being compliant with legal requirements while 86 were not.
During the same period the CCC made 410 applications with 345 of them being compliant with the legal requirements while 65 were declined.
The MDC-T made 30 notifications with 23 being approved while 7 were not and other political parties made a combined 89 notifications with the law enforcement agents approving 80 while 9 were not compliant.
Dr Gwinji said the ZRP was also training its personnel on policing during the elections with 88 percent of officers to be deployed having already undergone training and had also come up with an elections strategy to ensure coordinated and harmonised policing during the elections.
The Permanent Secretary also said they had also established a special police investigations unit in terms of the Electoral Act to speedily investigate speedily any cases of political violence or intimidation.
Dr Gwinji said the ZRP had also joined the political parties liaison committees that are meant to address disputes between political players to ensure a level playing field.
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