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:

  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Continued arrests, harassment of MDC officials and human rights defenders
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    March 16, 2007

    View Save Zimbabwe Campaign index of images and articles

    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights condemns the continued indiscriminate arrest and harassment of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and members throughout the country. A country wide synopsis indicates a well laid plan to besiege the offices, homes and lives of MDC officials and activists.

    Fourteen people including Sipepa Nkomo and Agnes Maloyi of the Tsvangirayi lead MDC were arrested on Wednesday 15 March at the opposition party offices. Six of them were charged on Thursday 15 March for failing to notify the police about plans to organise a demonstration. The activists are yet to be formally charged and still detained at Bulawayo Central Police. ZLHR member lawyers, Simbarashe Chivaura and Shepherd Chamunorwa are attending to the activists. Police in Bulawayo are operating under a mistaken fact and law that demonstrations are illegal and that bans instituted by in others towns are of full effect and force in Bulawayo.

    Seventy-six people were arrested on Monday 12 March following demonstrations by MDC activists who marched in support of those detained after the police disrupted and barred the holding of a prayer meeting under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields. Sixteen of those arrested in Mutare were released on Monday 12 March after paying $500 fines for embarking on "conduct likely to cause a breach of peace" as a way of buying their freedom. The 16 were mainly ordinary persons going on their daily business. Sixty others appeared in before a magistrate, for contravening Section 37 of the Criminal Law and Codification Act for "participating in a gathering with the intention of causing public disorder". The 60 were released on bail after paying $20 000 bail each and remanded to 30 March 2007 at which hearing ZLHR lawyers intend to contest the further remanding of the activists.

    Four students were arrested the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) campus on Tuesday 13 March at 0900hours and detained the Avondale Police Station. The four, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) President, Promise Mkhwananzi and suspended UZ Student Representative Council president, Tinei Mukwewa, ZINASU secretary general, Beloved Chiweshe and one Kelvin were picked up on the basis of "being security threats to the nation." They were later released at 1400hours.

    Harare Magistrateís Court
    Three student leaders and two Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition secretariat members were arrested at Rotten Row Magistrates Courts on Tuesday 13 March for standing in solidarity with the detained Save Zimbabwe Campaign leaders were released on Wednesday 14 March. The five, Washington Katema, Zimbabwe National Studentís Union (ZINASU) coordinator, Promise Mkwananzi, ZINASU president, Tellington Kwashira, Emily Nkhungwa and Roderick Chirowodza were charged under the Public Order and Security Act for being criminal nuisances and made to pay a $250 fine, which ZLHR intends to contest at the confirmation proceedings at the Magistrateís Court.

    ZLHR lawyers have been informed that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is drafting the 242 form to request for remand for the 50 people arrested during the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting, including the brutally beaten leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. Superintendent Tavaziva Officer Commanding CID Law and Order Harare and Officer in Charge Machipisa Police Station are refusing to release the vehicles belonging to Morgan Tsvangirayi, Nelson Chamisa and Dr Lovemore Madhuku under the guise of conducting investigations. Letters have been written contemplating legal action in the few hours if the vehicles are not delivered into the custody of their rightful and lawful owners.

    One of the activists arrested and brutally beaten on Sunday 11 March was rearrested. Susan Matsunga of Mufakose who was discharged yesterday from hospital was re-arrested on the afternoon of Friday 16 March. Susan, still in bandages, was together with relatives who had visited her taken and detained at Marimba Police Station.

    Twelve MDC officials were arrested in separate incidents for allegedly organising a demonstration. The 12 who included MDC National Youth Treasurer, Angeline Pechu, Provincial chairman, Lazarus Chacha and former councillor, Settlement Chikwinya were arrested around 1100hours and released at 1900hours. Pechu and Chacha were picked up at a restaurant while having breakfast while Chikwinya was arrested at a bank. They were released without charge.

    Nine people were arrested in Gweru on Tuesday 13 March 2007 following the demonstrations in solidarity with the arrested and brutally beaten leadership of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. Edward Fika, Erasmus Tonga, James Tsuro, Emmanuel Gwerekwete and Trust Chineni were arrested at their homes on Tuesday 13 March on allegations of petrol bombing the Nehanda Police Station. The five were detained at Gweru Central police Station and appeared in court on Friday 16 March where they were charged under Section 23 (1) (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law and Codification Act for "insurgence, banditry, sabotage and terrorism." They were granted a $100 000 bail, ordered to report at Gweru Central Police Station CID offices on Mondays and Fridays, to continue reside at given addresses, and remanded to 30 March 2007. ZLHR lawyers intend to make an application for refusal of remand as there is no evidence against the activists. Two of the accused are Bata employees who were on duty at work till 10 pm, an hour after the incident is said to have happened. Police at Gweru Central had released the five on Thursday 15 March in light of this evidence exonerating the five but made an about turn on instructions of their superior. The five had been actually released but the police rearrested them which is blatantly unlawful.

    Goodluck Chimbwanda who had been accused along with four other MDC members Gweru MP, Amos Chibaya, Tambirai Rutswara, and Tendai Munhamo of participating in an illegal demonstration appeared in court on Friday 16 March. His appearance was delayed by a day because he had suffered a broken rib after being assaulted by police at the Gweru central Police Station. Chimbwanda was hospitalised at the Gweru Central Hospital for two days from Wednesday 14 March after the assault. The prosecutor has undertaken to investigate the matter and bring to book the perpetrators. Chimbwanda was granted a $10 000 bail and remanded to 27 April, 2007.

    His co-accused, Gweru MP, Amos Chibaya, Tambirai Rutswara, Tendai Munhamo appeared in court on Thursday 15 March and charged under Section 37(1)a of the Criminal Law and Codification Act for participating in a gathering with the intention to promote public violence. The accused had conducted a demonstration in solidarity with the fifty arrested during the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting held at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield. They were granted a $10 000 bail and have been remanded to 27 April, 2007.

    Visit the ZLHR fact sheet

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