Armed riot police and other security personnel were heavily deployed and patrolled the streets in Chitungwiza all day, allowing Tsvangirai to go ahead with the planned rally.
The same rally had to be cancelled two weeks go after ZANU PF militants hurled stones at MDC-T supporters who were gathered at Chibuku stadium. Following the skirmishes no one from ZANU PF was arrested, something that most people have come to expect from Zimbabwe’s normally partisan police force.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa it was ‘quite refreshing and very unusual’ to see the police keep law and order at an MDC-T rally. He said they want to see the same level of alertness and efficiency to be displayed all the time by the police.
‘The police were uncharacteristically friendly to the MDC. I have never seen so many police details at our meetings and they were well behaved. It was clear they meant business…it was clear they did not brook any nonsense. They kept trouble makers at bay and ensured those attending the rally were safe.
However, it remains to be seen if they will continue to act professionally because we know their masters (ZANU PF) to be good at play acting,’ said Mwonzora. He added: ‘At one stage the police stood by and allowed the country to be turned upside down by rowdy ZANU PF youths.’
Police spokesman senior assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena declined to comment on the commendation from the MDC-T.
‘I’m sorry I don’t comment on that,’ Bvudzijena said before switching off his mobile phone. The MDC-T President however called on the police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to ensure all citizens receive protection, regardless of their political affiliations.
‘The role of police is to maintain law and order. The role of the police is not to be a law unto themselves. Instead of being police of law and order they are police of lawlessness and disorder. I do not hate Chihuri, but as the person in charge of police behaviour and values, he must be professional,’ Tsvangirai said.
He urged the police to arrest perpetrators of violence without being selective. Turning to elections, the Prime Minister pleaded for next year’s poll to reflect the will of the people, saying their votes must be secure.
‘The will of the people must be respected. You cannot run an election without ensuring that these fundamentals are taken into account. Wherever we travel, we are not ashamed to say we want a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. Our message to SADC, the AU and UN is that we need a free and fair election,’ Tsvangirai said. – SW Radio Africa NewsPost published in: News