HARARE – The embattled Zimbabwean government has raised the security alert level in anticipation of planned protests by the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). The CCC is disputing the results of recent elections and has announced its intention to hold demonstrations.
As a result, heavy police presence was observed in urban areas, with police conducting searches for weapons and disrupting public transport, according to NewsDay. The police have banned the protests, which were scheduled to take place. The CCC had sought permission to hold a peaceful demonstration to petition a government official, but their request was denied. The police memo read:
This office acknowledges receipt of your notification to hold a peaceful demonstration to petition the Minister of State Bulawayo Province dated October 16, 2023.
Please note that your notification does not comply with the mandatory provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act.
CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said government and police responses showed that the regime was panicking. He said:
This is not the behaviour of those who won an election. Obviously, they are panicking. The citizens will continue to find ways of expressing themselves.
The opposition party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), has urged its supporters to sign a petition denouncing the recalls of its elected officials. The party considers the recalls to be unconstitutional and disrespectful to the voters. They argue that the recalls were initiated by someone, Sengezo Tshabangu, who is not a member of the party.
The party argues that despite fraudulent letters from Tshabangu, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Local Government and Public Works minister proceeded with the recalls, affecting 15 CCC MPs and 17 councillors.
Over 1,000 people have signed the petition, expressing their discontent. The CCC believes that these recalls have given the ruling ZANU PF party a two-thirds majority in Parliament and have targeted young women in leadership positions.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has also criticised the recalls and called for the repeal of the law allowing such actions. The CCC has taken the matter to court, while Tshabangu maintains that he has the authority to recall elected officials.