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  • Truth, justice, reconciliation and national healing - Index of articles

  • Peace Day protesters arrested
    Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
    July 26, 2009

    15 people were arrested yesterday by the Zimbabwe Republic Police for wearing black in protest against the Peace days gazetted by President Robert Mugabe. They were detained at Mbare police station from 0800hrs and released without charge at 1800hrs the same day. The police interrogated the detainees for the whole day. Tichanzii Gandanga, the ROHR secretary general visited the 15 and assured them that they will be released soon when it became obvious that the motive was dubious and meant to just frustrate the protesters.

    12 of the people were ROHR members who had boarded public transport from Mbare to the City center when the bus was stopped and rerouted to Mbare police station. The other 3 were just caught in the crossfire as they were assumed to be part of the group. Alfonso Zvenyika, a former Zimbabwean boxing champion who was part to the protest said he suspected that the arrest was effected following a tip off from ZANU PF youths in Mbare suburb who were aware of the 'peace days' protest.

    ROHR is disturbed by this behavior, because it casts shadows on any hopes that national healing can ever be achieved when people are unnecessarily arrested for peacefully expressing their displeasure with Government processes. The uniformed forces must remain impartial and resist executing political directives targeted at innocent and peaceful civilians who have a right to freedom of expression and association as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    On 22 July, ROHR made a public call for people to wear black attire on 24 - 26 July in protests against the peace days proclaimed by Mugabe and in solidarity with the victims of politically motivated violence. Yesterday, ROHR Zimbabwe carried out a protest march to parliament building where people were dispersed by police. ROHR believes that there cannot be peace without national healing and that cannot come before truth, justice and compensation to victims of political violence. That should be approached holistically and whole heartedly rather than calling for symbolic days and monumental moments celebrating "new found peace and unity" while violence against civilians still continues. Governance by misdirection will not deliver the much need closure to this sensitive subject of national healing and reconciliation. Restorative justice must prevail.

    Visit the ROHR fact sheet

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