Zimbabwe elections: Police ban carrying of dangerous items

Zimbabwe's riot police take position in the streets of Harare central district as Zimbabwe’s main opposition parties demonstrate in support of free and fair elections to be monitored by international bodies on March 22, 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe. A coalition of opposition political parties in Zimbabwe demanded the disbanding of the state-appointed electoral commission accusing the poll body of hindering free and fair elections. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA

HARARE, — Police in southern Zimbabwe have banned the carrying of dangerous items in a bid to minimize political violence as the July 30 general elections approach.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported Tuesday that the officer commanding Beitbridge Francis Phiri had on Monday published a notice prohibiting the possession of offensive weapons between June 7 and Sept. 7.

“No person shall carry or display in a public place thoroughfare, whether openly or by concealment, the following weapons: catapults, machetes, axes, swords, knives, knobkerries, daggers or any traditional weapon.

“Any person found in possession of such weapons shall be guilty of an offense,” he said.

Phiri, however, said that no incidents of politically motivated violence had been reported around Beitbridge, which is Zimbabwe’s gateway to South Africa.

He said the police had agreed with representatives of all political parties in the district that it was important to maintain peace during the election period.

Zimbabwean police always ban the possession of dangerous weapons during elections to curb violence as different parties square off.

Despite favorable pre-election polls, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party anticipates a stiff challenge from a coalition of opposition parties running under the banner of the MDC Alliance.