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Statement on the arrest of MMPZ staffers
in Zimbabwe Coalition
December 06, 2011
Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition condemns the ransacking
by the police of the Media
Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) offices and detention
of the Director, Andrew Moyse at Harare Central Police station.
The Coalition calls upon law enforcement agents to cease forthwith
the apparent clampdown on journalists and civic players. The arrest
of Moyse comes barely 24 hours after police arrested
MMPZ advocacy officers, Fadzai December and Molly Chimhanda, and
Public Rights forum committee for Gwanda, Gilbert Mabusa for facilitating
a civic education meeting.
Moyse is being
charged under Section 31 of the notorious Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, that is "publishing
or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state"
while December, Chimhanda and Mabusa are being charged under the
Order and Security Act for allegedly failing to notify the police
of a meeting held on the 24th of November 2011 in Gwanda and under
the equally notorious Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act for
'participating in a gathering with the intent to promote public
violence'. Gwanda police also claim that the three were distributing
subversive material which included a DVD on tolerance and peaceful
come against the backdrop of increased tolerance of and onslaughts
on journalists and the apparent shrinkage of democratic space in
the country. On the 2nd of December, Daily News Editor, Stanley
Gama and reporter Xolisani Ncube were detained
under defamation charges emanating from an article published in
the newspaper with the headline 'Chombo brags about riches'.
They were released pending further investigations. The Standard
Editor, Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Nqaba Matshazi were also
arrested on the 15th of November facing charges of unlawful entry,
theft and criminal defamation which emanated from an article published
on the 6th of November claiming that Green Card Medical Aid Society
owned by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke is
broke. The case against the two remains before the courts.
views this incomprehensible and deliberate clampdown by law enforcements
agents as a blatant attempt to impede on the operations of pro-democracy
players and a negation of civil liberties. Civics and journalists
must be allowed to do their work without hindrance while citizens
must be allowed to enjoy their fundamental freedoms which include
the freedoms which include the freedoms of association and expression
without undue disturbances from law enforcement agents.
The use of colonial
style legislation to disrupt attempts by the media and civic players
to create space for citizens to deliberate and debate on key national
questions is unacceptable. Information is power and attempts to
stop citizens from being empowered by the media and media groups
is disempowering. Zimbabwe is currently carrying out the constitution
making process with prospects of elections within the next two years.
It is critical for the political environment to allow greater citizen
participation by allowing pro-democracy players to execute their
mandates of creating a public sphere for the electorate without
- The police
immediately release Andrew Moyse, Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda
and Gilbert Mabusa from custody and grant them their pre-trial
- The police
allow journalists to practice their trade without fear of either
persecution or prosecution
- Law enforcement
agents cease forthwith the onslaught on pro-democracy players
- The inclusive
government accelerates the legislative reform agenda to rid
the nation of archaic, colonial style laws including POSA which
hinder the full enjoyment of fundamental laws.
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in Zimbabwe fact
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