March 22 2017 – Zimbabwean police have deployed water cannons and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital, Harare, on Wednesday (today) ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process.
Opposition parties united under a National Election Reform Agenda (NERA) banner are campaigning against a government decision to take over the purchase of biometric voter registration kits from the United Nations.
They fear this will make it easier for President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party to skew the list of eligible voters in its favour.
Police have allowed the NERA protest march on the outskirts of downtown Harare but have prevented it from heading through the city centre to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Opposition parties say the ZEC is biased in favour of ZANU-PF and is run by security agents loyal to Mugabe, allegations ZEC denies.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its next presidential and parliamentary election by July 2018. Mugabe has been endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate. – Reuters