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Zimrights' Machisa released on bail
Youth Forum
January 29, 2013

The Youth Forum notes with great relief the recent granting of bail to the ZimRights boss, Okay Machisa, a luminary human rights fighter. The National Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association has been in custody since 14 January on allegations of attempting to defraud the Registrar General's Office by forging and manufacturing counterfeit copies of voter registration certificates.

Machisa's attempts to gain freedom were constantly frustrated as his allegations took a political twist with the magistrates' courts describing his allegations as "Of national interest as it involved defrauding the Registrar General's office." Machisa's actions as described by the magistrates were likely to cause bloodshed during and after the make or break election the country is facing this year. This, the magistrates argued was going to attract calls for a NO-FLY -ZONE on Zimbabwe reminiscent of what toppled the hard core North African dictator, Maumar Gaddafi, a close friend of President Mugabe. Such utterances by the courts goes far to expose the fear gripping the Harare regime.

In his bail conditions, Machisa has been ordered to pay USD500 to the Clerk of Court, to remain at his present residence and report to the police weekly, and to put up an immovable asset worth no less than USD50K.

The Youth Forum continues to be worried about the escalation in the wanton arrests of human rights activists ahead of elections. We strongly condemn such barbaric acts and appeal to the collective conscience of the principals in the inclusive government to stop it and ensure a conducive environment ahead of the elections.

We also note with great exasperation, the arrest-to-investigate approach that has become accustomed with the Zimbabwe Republic Police. We strongly urge the ZRP to investigate in order to arrest; a practice consistent with all human rights upholding police forces throughout the world. It was a sorry sight, seeing Okay Machisa, shackled in leg irons for a crime that has not been investigated. This clearly shows that the justice system in the country is being used to punish those suspected to be working against the parochial interest of the liberation movement.

Meanwhile, the Youth Forum is deeply saddened by the untimely passing on of Professor John Makumbe who dedicated the better of his life fighting towards a free, just, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. May his Soul Rest in Peace.

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