Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa defied a police clampdown in Bikita on Thursday braving mounted attacks to hold a rally as he moves to charm the rural vote.
Chamisa, who narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018 is looking to cause an upset in Zanu PF strongholds.
Mnangagwa is seeking a second term, after taking over in a military coup that deposed Robert Mugabe pledging peace and a level playing field during the campaign season.
But the main opposition has already faced multiple hurdles since the nomination court that confirmed Chamisa as Mnangagwa’s main challenger.
Chamisa’s campaign has been marred by a police clampdown, and perceived state ploy to ban rallies.
After Chamisa’s rally was banned in Tshovane, Chiredzi town, he chose Bikita as his new hunting ground.
The police, in a letter argued that there was a purported state function slated for Tshovane.
In Bikita Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters were besieged by perceived Zanu PF supporters, with former information deputy minister Energy Mutodi allegedly firing a gun twice.
Mutodi argued that, CCC supporters were the aggressors.
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere demanded that police act and apprehend Mutodi.
“This is a confirmed act of public violence. Where is police? Why has Energy Mutodi not been arrested? Why is Zanu PF allowed to unleash such wanton violence on CCC supporters who are peacefully and lawfully gathering?
“Zanu PF is feeling the heat!,” Mahere wrote on her official social media accounts.
Addressing thousands gathered at Baradzanwa business centre, Chamisa said he was not fazed by various attempts at stopping his campaign in the rural areas.
“Against all odds, thank you for coming,” Chamisa said.
The 45-year-old will take his campaign to Bindura on Sunday for a campaign launch, amid reports that police could issue another ban.
Zimbabweans choose a new president on 23.August with the economy teetering on the brink of collapse.
Political analysts say the electoral battle will be fought on the economic front, as Zimbabweans are expected to choose a leader with a viable economic plan.
This article is part of The NewsReporLive’s Project Zivai (Get Informed) Free2Express programme supported by Magamba Network.