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urges police to acquaint themselves with laws as arrest of MDC leaders
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
July 11, 2011
for Human Rights (ZLHR) unreservedly condemns the over-zealous actions
of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), who arrested and
detained leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led
by Professor Welshman Ncube, including three Ministers.
Police, on 10
July 2011, without just cause and in their increasingly regular
arbitrary manner, arrested and detained for almost four hours at
Hwange Police Station the MDC President and Industry and Commerce
Minister, Professor Welshman Ncube; Secretary-General and Regional
Integration and International Co-operation Minister, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga;Deputy
Secretary-General and co-Minister of the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu; Treasurer-General
Paul Themba Nyathi; National Organising Secretary, Qhubani Moyo,
Youth Secretary-General Descent Bajila; Matabeleland North Provincial
Chairperson, Jealous Sansole; Rita Ndlovu, the National Secretary
for Recruitment; Women's Assembly National Organising Secretary,
Anastacia Chikuni, and several other party leaders.
The MDC leaders
were intercepted at around 18:00hrs at a roadblock mounted along
the Victoria Falls-Hwange highway by some abusive police who refused
to divulge the reasons for the interception and threatened to assault
them. They were then arbitrarily detained at Hwange police station.
They had been travelling from the resort town of Victoria Falls
where they were consulting their party structures.
hours of detention, some senior members of the ZRP stationed at
Hwange Police Station reportedly called in Professor Ncube, Misihairabwi-Mushonga
and Mzila-Ndlovu and apologized to them stating that they had been
given a wrong report pertaining to their activities in Victoria
Falls before releasing them without preferring any charges.
It is saddening
that the police continue to act in bad faith by selectively arresting
and harassing members of some political parties without just cause,
whilst at the same time permitting other parties to execute their
activities without any hindrance.
appraisal indicates a well laid plan to interfere, harass and destablise
activities and events organised by legitimate political parties,
actors and civil society organisations while those linked to ZANU
PF are spared.
The arrest and
detention of the MDC leaders is a clear sign that the democratic
and constitutional rights of Zimbabweans are still a remote reverie
and that the coalition government has not changed the situation
for the better as some would want us to believe. The right to organise
and to assemble together with the aim of addressing issues of common
concern is a human right and an important means by which citizens
can influence their governments and leaders.
ZLHR urges the
police and government to observe these basic human rights in the
interest of upholding the rule of law. Political party players need
to be treated equally and ZLHR maintains that showing favouritism
and discriminatory treatment encourages and promotes impunity and
leads to a further deterioration and undermining of the rule of
law and good governance.
of the MDC leaders for supposedly breaching the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) further indicates the shallow
comprehension of the law by members of the ZRP, who continue to
misinterpret the provisions of the draconian legislation with impunity.
It is shameful
that the police continue to cite provisions of POSA to justify their
actions despite several clear pronouncements by the country's judiciary
to the effect that they must stop abusing POSA to stop legitimate
political party activities.
harassment buttresses the urgent need to inculcate a culture of
reading among members of the police so that they can adequately
appreciate the provisions of the laws of this country.
available and willing to offer free lessons to the police on this
so that they can refrain from conducting themselves in ways reminiscent
of the colonial era.
Visit the ZLHR
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