Court bars Mukupe from disrupting Biti's rallies

HARARE - Deputy Finance minister and aspiring Zanu PF legislator for Harare East constituency Terence Mukupe has been banned from disrupting the opposition MDC Alliance’s political party campaigns.

Mukupe, squaring off with  the MDC Alliance‘s candidate Tendai Biti and other smaller candidates, was barred from engaging in politically-motivated violence, intimidation and causing disruptions of rallies, meetings or any gatherings organised by the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance in a ruling from the recently established special courts to deal with cases of political violence.

The verdict deepened a political row between Mukupe and Biti, which has seen the rookie minister recently offer a grudging apology to Biti over widely condemned “HIV therapy” attack on the MDC Alliance candidate.

The interdict came after the MDC Alliance and six of its party supporters on Monday petitioned the Electoral Courts — formed as part of the government’s drive to curtail unrest and intimidation ahead of the first post-Robert Mugabe elections set for July — protesting that some Zanu PF party supporters had committed several electoral malpractices against them on July in Harare East constituency.

The MDC Alliance supporters namely Emmanuel Gumbo, Clement Daudi, Tapiwanashe Zongoro, Coster Kazingizi, Stewart Manyika, Prince Mutebuka — who were represented by Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights — argued that their political rights were violated after some Zanu PF party supporters disrupted a political rally in Caledonia, a high density suburb located in Harare East constituency.

The MDC Alliance supporters said the Zanu PF supporters — allegedly acting under the instructions of Mukupe — randomly and mercilessly pelted some vehicles and MDC Alliance supporters with stones resulting in two opposition supporters Clement Daudi and Prince Mutebuka sustaining injuries from the assault while Coster Kazingizi’s vehicle was damaged.

The opposition party supporters argued that the Zanu PF party supporters’ conduct affects the fairness of the elections scheduled for Monday and creates an uneven playing field for contestants.

Delivering a vote seen as free and fair is crucial to Zimbabwe’s efforts to mend ties with the West and could help unlock foreign funding and investment needed to revive the struggling economy.

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