Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (Independent), says the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s habit of blocking the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) from conducting campaign rallies poses a danger to the ruling ZANU PF.
Mliswa argues that citizens will view the banning of CCC rallies as unjust and the opposition party will gain sympathy and pity which may eventually translate into votes. Mliswa tweeted:
What [ZRP] has been doing in blocking opposition rallies creates a danger for the ruling party.
While they may see it as a strategy to strangle [Nelson Chamisa], they have created an impression of the opposition as a victim to be pitied and supported.
The opposition has become, not another equal player to be judged on merit and ability but a victim of state power to be judged differently.
CCC has actually gained mileage through the abuse they have suffered and resultantly as we are going towards elections there are three issues to be wary of. The sympathy vote, protest vote and generational vote.
The abuse they have suffered has created sympathy for them within the political body as the electorate begins to empathise with what they have and are going through. That can translate into sympathy votes for them.
The protest vote is simply about the electorate expressing their discontent over the prevailing socio-economic situation through the ballot.
It’s about people seeking to try something new, disconsolate over a status quo that they feel is no longer responding to their needs.
The protest vote could also be from within the ruling party itself and those who feel they have not benefitted after the entrance of the 2nd dispensation.
The generational gap relates to the demographics of the country’s huge young population both within and outside political parties.
The party that is able to accommodate and provide for the young people has an advantage. Already, ZANU PF has a problem in that area.
ZRP has so far blocked CCC from holding rallies in Gokwe, Marondera, and Binga, while a CCC supporter was stabbed to death at a rally in Mbizo Kwekwe.
On Monday ZRP national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police banned the CCC’s Marondera rally because the opposition party had not complied with relevant provisions of MOPA.
Nyathi accused CCC of not observing the law and are acting as a law unto themselves.
Meanwhile, ZRP has not banned any ZANU PF or MDC Alliance rally. MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora met President Emmerson Mnangagwa twice at State House in the past few months.