THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Index of articles on the mistreatment of the legal profession in Zimbabwe

  • News Release
    Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA)
    May 16, 2007

    Visit the special index page on the mistreatment of the legal profession in Zimbabwe

    Johannesburg, South Africa - A high-level delegation, comprising prominent lawyers from the southern Africa region, has recently completed a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe. Their visit, sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the SADC Lawyers Association comes on the heels of the arrest and continued detention of two Zimbabwean human rights lawyers, Andrew Makoni and Alec Muchadehama, despite a court order mandating their release.

    Norman Tjombe, director of the Namibian Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek and a councillor of the Law Society of Namibia, was one of five lawyers comprising the delegation which spent three days in Zimbabwe. The delegation met with the Secretary for Justice, the Attorney General and the two Deputy Commissioners of Police and their subordinates. They also met with the lawyers who were victims of police brutality and of arbitrary arrests and detention. Tjombe observed that, "There is general breakdown in the rule of law, court orders are not being observed and lawyers are targeted by the state if they provide support or represent the opposition. Despite this hostile climate the extreme courageousness of many Zimbabwean lawyers must be recognized and commended."

    Testimony to the bravery of many in the Zimbabwean legal profession is the protest by lawyers in Harare and Mutare at the unlawful detention of Makoni and Muchadehama, seen as part of a systematic attempt at intimidation by the government. Makoni and Muchadehama are acting for opposition members alleged to have committed acts of violence against the state. Lawyers protesting in Harare were set upon by police. A number, including Beatrice Mtetwa, president of the Zimbabwean Law Society, were taken to a field by police officers, made to lie down and savagely beaten.

    In the wake of the delegation's visit, further arrests of lawyers have been made. Jonathan Samkange, a lawyer representing alleged British mercenary, Simon Mann, has been arrested on charges of allegedly contravening the Immigration Act and on Monday, 14 May, 10 lawyers who had participated in the Mutare protests were arrested.

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.