High Court Upheld Ban On Opposition Party's Campaign Launch
The High Court on Sunday upheld a ban on the planned launch of a campaign by the main opposition party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). This is the third rally to be banned, as the leader of the party, Nelson Chamisa, faces obstacles on his campaign trail. The CCC was set to hold its campaign launch in Bindura, which is approximately 100 km (62 miles) north of the capital, Harare. However, the police banned the gathering, citing issues with the venue.
On Friday, CCC lawyers filed an urgent application at the High Court challenging the police’s decision. However, on Sunday, a judge referred the matter back to the lower court. Bindura Magistrate Mary Musika then upheld the ban, stating that the CCC had failed to notify the police on time.
According to CCC lawyer Agency Gumbo said the outcome showed that the playing field was not even. He told Reuters:
The ruling showed there is an uneven playing ground in this election. It shows that the democratic space has been eroded. We are getting into a match with both legs tied so you cannot score.
A few opposition supporters protested outside the court, chanting party slogans and expressing their disappointment that they were not free to support their party. Some had travelled all night to attend the rally. 36-year-old Patience Chigwande said:
Get Pindula News on our WhatsApp Channel
Subscribe here: https://whatsapp.com/channel/0029Va84dngJP21B2nWeyM3v
It is disheartening because ZANU PF is allowed to campaign freely, but they are using the law to block our rallies. People now fear for their lives, and this will impact our vote.
Political analysts believe that the elections, in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking a second term, may lose credibility if the clampdown on the opposition continues.
The ruling ZANU-PF party has not commented on the matter yet.