WASHINGTON — The opposition Movement for Democratic Change claims that party leader Nelson Chamisa was on Sunday nearly gunned down by the police in Zimbabwe’s Marondera region, east of Harare, while he was planting trees at Dombodombo Clinic. MDC presidential spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda says Chamisa left the scene unhurt while some party supporters suffered injuries when the police opened fire with live and rubber bullets when they attempted to disperse them.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi dismissed these allegations as false, saying the police used teargas to disperse the MDC activists, who he said were holding an illegal gathering.
Nyathi said the MDC should have sought permission from the police to engage in tree planting as prescribed in the country’s security laws.
The newly-crafted Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, which replaced the dreaded Public Order and Security Act, clearly stipulates that senior police officers of every district are the regulating authority who can fix conditions under which public gatherings, demonstrations and processions can be held.
But Sibanda tells VOA Zimbabwe Service that there was no need for them to inform the police about the tree planting event, which resulted in the police opening fire on MDC activists.