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Madhuku arrested, MDC offices raided
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

September 08, 2004

POLICE in Harare arrested Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the Chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly at his Harare residence at 2am today, whilst police besieged the opposition Movement for Democratic Change offices in Bulawayo yesterday afternoon

Yesterday the MDC department of information and publicity reported that more than 30-armed members of the Zimbabwe Republic police raided their provincial offices in Bulawayo and carried out searches for what they called subversive material or any other offensive material likely to incite public disorder or public violence. Police did this without a search warrant at the time they raided the offices.

The arrest of Dr Madhuku comes barely a week after heavily armed police thwarted an NCA-organised demonstration against the draconian Non-Governmental Organisations Bill that seeks to gag the activities of NGOs involved in human rights and governance issues.

According to the NCA director of information and advocacy, Ernest Mudzengi, police picked Dr Madhuku because they are ".not amused by the NCA stance on the proposed Bill especially that the Bill must be entirely done away with."

Mudzengi said Dr Madhuku is currently detained at Harare Central Police Station. Although charges against Dr Madhuku are not yet clear it is suspected that the police could charge him under POSA for organizing an illegal demonstration without their clearance.

The Crisis Coalition condemns in the strongest of terms the continued harassment of human rights activist and academic, Dr Madhuku who was beaten by police and left for dead in February this year. These savage attacks will not deter the resolution by civics that the draconian NGO Bill must not see the light of the day because it infringes the fundamental rights of freedoms of association and assembly.

The Coalition fully supports the stance taken by the NCA on the proposed Bill and reiterate that the proposed piece of legislation represents a sustained, determined and well-orchestrated attack on the citizenry's civil liberties.

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