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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Police block election debate meetings
    Bulawayo Agenda

    July 16, 2013

    The regulating authorities for Gweru, Plumtree, Tsholotsho and Lupane (Zimbabwe Republic Police) yesterday and today, 15 and 16 July, simultaneously blocked four Bulawayo Agenda meetings scheduled for this weekend and next week in the stated areas.

    The meetings are supposed to be part of the Election Debate Series which are meant to facilitate interface between various candidates running for parliamentary office from across the political divide and the public so as to promote citizen participation in the elections.

    The police have said that the three weeks before elections scheduled for the 31st of July have been allocated to political parties to conduct their campaigns and civic organisations can only have their activities after the elections. They also indicated that they do not have enough manpower to ensure public order because of the pending elections.

    There is however, gross inconsistencies as Bulawayo Agenda is holding a meeting in Gwanda today (16 July) without any problems with the police in that area. The police whom according to the Public Order and Security Act are supposed to be notified have always interrupted and or stopped civic meetings and in some instances threatened or arrested civic activists thus infringing on the citizens’ freedom of association and right to information.

    Zimbabweans go to the polls on the 31st of July to elect the president, parliamentarians and councillors with little and no knowledge at all on the mixed electoral system, the political parties’ programs among other important information. In the past, lack of such knowledge and limited civic space has affected voter education and resulted in apathy and lack of public accountability as citizens do not elect from position of knowledge thus fail to hold leaders to account.

    Bulawayo Agenda is currently, through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, challenging all these injunctions through the courts.

    Visit the Bulawayo Agenda fact sheet

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