MASVINGO – Chaos erupted at a star rally organized by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Masvingo as police resorted to firing tear gas into people’s houses in an attempt to disperse supporters attending the event.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa was addressing the rally at Mamutse Ground when the situation escalated.
Initially, senior police officials attempted to prevent Chamisa from taking the podium.
However, supporters and Chamisa’s security personnel thwarted their efforts, allowing the opposition leader to address the crowd.
As tensions flared, police retreated and later returned armed with tear gas canisters, truncheons, and aggressive dogs.
Despite the show of force, CCC supporters remained steadfast, determined to let Chamisa conclude his speech.
The rally had reportedly extended by an hour beyond the initially scheduled time of 4 pm due to Chamisa’s late arrival from another event in Chiredzi.
Chamisa used his address to urge the police to remain impartial and not allow themselves to be embroiled in partisan politics or manipulate the electoral process.
He stated, “An outgoing government should never be more powerful than an incoming government, so police please remain professional and not be used for politics.”
CCC promises new lease of life
Promising reforms if elected, Chamisa pledged to establish a professional police force and pay officers’ salaries in US dollars.
He vowed to end their alleged suffering at the hands of the ruling Zanu PF party.
Chamisa’s words, however, did not appease the police leadership.
After failing to stop the rally earlier, they advanced with their subordinates and confronted journalists who were filming the scene.
Threats of arrest and assault were reportedly made towards the journalists.
Tensions escalated further when police resorted to launching tear gas canisters into the crowd and nearby residences.
The situation resulted in supporters throwing objects at the police in retaliation.
Supporters had endured a nine-hour wait for Chamisa’s appearance, having arrived at the venue at 9 am.
However, their patience was tested as Chamisa’s speech, which usually lasts over an hour, was significantly shortened due to the escalating confrontation with the police.
The events highlight the ongoing political tensions and power struggles in Zimbabwe.
As the CCC rallies its supporters, police responses have sparked concerns about the use of force and the potential for violence in the lead-up to the elections.
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