Attempts by police to block a rally by former vice-president Joice Mujuru in President Robert Mugabe’s backyard fell flat after the High Court reversed a last minute ban of the Zimbabwe People First gathering in Chinhoyi.
The town was yesterday morning teeming with hordes of riot police deployed to crush Mujuru’s rally at Gadzema grounds after the law enforcement agents banned the meeting on Friday night, citing lack of manpower.
Interestingly, the police who had cited lack of manpower for the ban, beefed up security which descended on the venue to order ZimPF supporters to disperse.
Water cannons deployed from Harare were spotted moving around Chinhoyi, apparently to intimidate residents intending to attend the rally.
But attempts to bar the rally, which had initially been cleared for July 26 by officer commanding Makonde district, Chief Superintendent Grace Ndou, were dismissed by the courts.
Over 5 000 ZimPF supporters trooped back to the venue where they were addressed by Mujuru after the court ruling.
ZimPF lawyer and Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro said High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa granted them permission “after the State consented following some interrogation”. Speaking at the rally, Mujuru said working as Mugabe’s deputy had been a “living hell”.
“If you work with Mugabe, it’s a living hell. Those still working with him know what I’m talking about. He is the biggest male chauvinist,” she said.
The former VP also took a dig at First Lady Grace Mugabe, labelling her “garrulous.” She said the first family was not qualified to comment on issues affecting war veterans as none of them was ever at the war front.
Mujuru challenged Mugabe to tell the world his nom-de guerre.
She warned the 92-year-old Zanu PF strongman against causing the arbitrary arrest, detention and harassment of war veterans.
“War vets are not stupid, don’t mistake their silence for foolishness,” she said.
“Mugabe is deliberately turning holding cells and prisons into war vets houses while their places of leisure are now the courts.”
Mujuru took a swipe at the police for being used by politicians and urged them to be professional in discharging their duties.
She said the 2018 elections were around the corner and the same police would serve her government.
“What the police should realise is that they don’t belong to individuals or a party because after 2018 they will serve the new government of People First,” said Mujuru
“I hear that the district [police] commander is a woman and she wants to impress her boss Ignatious Chombo [Home Affairs Minister] by denying us the venue. This time we will not allow that. We have been quite for too long.”
Mujuru said opposition parties had to come together if Mugabe was to be removed from power.
“Each man for himself does not work. We must come together, all political parties, business people and those from the church and fight our common enemy, old Mugabe. Together we will make it to the promised land,” she said.
Mujuru, who was clad in khaki fatique and a green cap, said her government would institute a proper land audit to do away with multiple farm owners and investigate the source of wealth of some government officials who were building mansions amid a sea of poverty affecting the general populace.
A counter attraction rally organised by Zanu PF failed as it attracted less than 500 people. Standard