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Tsunga detained at the airport, released after interrogation
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
January 26, 2007

Today the 25th of January at 1434 hours, Arnold Tsunga the director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson was detained at the Harare International Airport. Tsunga was coming from the World Social Forum in Nairobi Kenya and his brief detention may be linked to the protests that the Zimbabwean delegation organized in Kenya. The delegation hogged the world’s limelight by protesting against the Zimbabwean government’s socio- economic and political projects every day from 1630 to 1730 hours at Kasarani inn Nairobi from the 20th to the 24th of January. Zimbabwe featured alongside Swaziland and Sudan as Africa’s key problem areas.

Mr. Tsunga was released after he had asked for the names of the three police officers who had detained him and informed them that they will be personally responsible for anything that would happen to him. Dewa Mavhinga, a lawyer who was part of the delegation of 34 Zimbabweans, represented Tsunga in the matter where one of the officers coded the detention as "a routine exercise". This leaves an egg in the government propaganda machinery which selects one Tsunga out of 34 other people for "routine exercise."

Crisis condemns such psychological war games by the regime and declares that the coalition’s vision to see a democratic Zimbabwe will not collapse with such threats.

NCA takes to the streets. Meanwhile the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) took to the streets today demanding the government to take the issue of constitutional reforms seriously and dismissing the proposals to amend the constitution which will accommodate President Robert Mugabe for two more years without the people’s mandate.

More than three hundred members of the NCA marched from the public transport terminus of Market Square, entering into Nelson Mandela, towards the parliament to hand over their petition. However, marauding police officers pounced on them as they were 500 meters away from the august house entrance.

One of the activists was critically injured after the police indiscriminately pounced on him and arbitrarily pummeling him. Earnest Mudzengi, the NCA National Coordinator stated that the injured cadre has since been taken to Avenues clinic where he is receiving treatment. "We deplore the lack of professionalism in the police force. That’s not the way the police are supposed to react to a peaceful demonstration. This is the very same way they reacted on the ZCTU demonstration and it only spells out one end, that they have become appendages of the ruling party which is contrary to their code of conduct…"said Mudzengi.

The NCA has been on the fore front in calling on the government of Zimbabwe to embrace the demands of Zimbabweans who are calling for a new people driven constitution which will define the frame work to which democratic activities will take place. A democratic constitution will lead to the leveling of the electoral field, define the presidential powers and ceiling of presidential terms, put an end to incompetent commissions such as the Electoral Commission, Media and information Commission (MIC) among others.

It is the coalition’s humble submission that, the police should stop this nefarious and brutal conduct promptly. The police’s actions are against both domestic and international law provisions which call upon the uniformed forces to apply minimal force on civilian activities. The Zimbabwean police’s definition of minimal force is skewed, as the ZCTU members suffered broken limbs, deep cuts and grievous wounds from minimal force. There is therefore need to redefine the concept of minimal force.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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