Tuesday, August 20, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Police u-turn over PM Cross Over rally
29/07/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

IN a dramatic u-turn, police have now said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s so-called ‘Cross Over’ Harare rally will now go ahead Monday, reversing an earlier decision to block the gathering.

“That rally is going to proceed,” said national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba told a press briefing on Sunday. “Come Monday, MDC is going to hold their rally.”

On Friday Harare police boss, Chief Superintendent Titus Alex Chagwedera, had told the MDC-T that the ZRP was short-staffed and could not muster enough security deployments for the event.

Asked why Chief Superintendent Chagwedera had initially banned the rally, Charamba said she did not know.

“l haven’t spoken to the Chief Superintendent himself and l am not privy to the reasons that he has given but what l can assure you is that the rally is going to go on and we have enough manpower to cover that rally. We have adequate police officers to ensure the rally is going on,” she said.

“Whatever Chagwedera said, l think you can go and ask him but as far as l am concerned, as the chief police spokesperson who speaks on behalf of the Commissioner General, the Commissioner General from the onset has conceded that that rally will go on.”

In a letter to Godfrey Koster, the MDC-T national coordinator, Chigwedera wrote: “Be advised that we have already deployed all our personnel to polling stations where they are securing election and government materials.

"We have no extra personnel to spare so that they cover your intended rally. Some of our personnel have been deployed to some other provinces to augment the strength of such provinces.

“In view of the foregoing, holding the intended Star Rally has not been sanctioned and should not be allowed to take place as the absence of Police officers from the rally may culminate in political violence.”

The ban invited an angry response from the MDC-T which vowed to challenge the decision in the courts, insisting the police action was unlawful.

“We get shocked when some people say this country is having a free and fair election. What rubbish! This election is illegitimate, is illegal, is unfree, is immoral, is unfair,” MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti said.

“We have already instructed our lawyers to go to court. We are also going to write to our observers.”

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