REPORTS that police in Gwanda have unilaterally cancelled campaign rallies for the two MDC formations that were scheduled for the weekend are a serious cause for concern.
Southern Eye Editorial
After initially booking MDC-T to use Pelandaba Stadium on Friday, police made a U-turn as they claimed that the venue had been
reserved for President Robert Mugabe who will also be in town on the same date.
Both MDC formations had planned to separately use Pelandala Stadium, but now they have been told they can no longer congregate anywhere near the Matabeleland South capital on that day.
There is nothing new about the behaviour of the police in Gwanda as the Zimbabwe Republic Police has gained a reputation for being partisan in favour of Zanu PF.
Lest we forget, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from the 2008 presidential run-off election after police in Matabeleland North Province blocked him from campaigning.
Overzealous police officers went on to seize the MDC-T leader’s bullet proof vehicle, which he had been using for his campaigns and in a demonstration that Zimbabwe is still far from being a democracy, the BMW car is still rotting at Lupane Police Station.
The meddling by the police and other members of the security forces forced the international community to reject the outcome of that run-off poll where Mugabe ended up running alone.
That conduct did not only bring shame to Zimbabwe, but also humiliated Mugabe, who was then forced into a coalition government with his sworn enemies.
The expectation was that after a four-year inclusive government, institutions such as the police would be rehabilitated to assume their proper position in a democracy.
However, the stance taken by the Gwanda police reminded
us of the saying that the more things change the more they remain the same.
It is our hope that the Sadc observer mission, which was in Matabeleland South this week, has taken note of this shameful conduct by the police.
The continued partisan behaviour by the police would only add to worries about the credibility of the July 31 elections following the chaotic special voting exercise early this week.