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see red over Mugabe, Zanu PF political campaign posters
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
July 23, 2013
More than 30
Zimbabweans are seeing red after being arrested and charged for
pulling down President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party’s
political campaign posters in contravention of the country’s
obnoxious electoral laws.
With just a
week away before the country’s harmonised
elections scheduled for Wednesday 31 July 2013, about 37 Zimbabweans
have been arrested and detained for allegedly contravening various
sections of the
Electoral Act in particular Sections 152 and 153.
gleaned by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights show that those arrested
for breaching the Electoral Act are citizens accused of defacing
election posters thereby stoking tensions in the troubled southern
It is apparent
from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)’s statistics
that most of the people who have fallen foul of the tough electoral
laws largely include supporters of MDC-T party leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC party.
in Mashonaland Central province appear to be enforcing the clampdown
on dissent the most as the mining town recorded the highest number
of Zimbabweans charged with committing electoral transgressions.
Ncube’s supporter, Memory Nyambuya, is currently standing
trial after she was arrested on 16 July 2013 and charged with contravening
Section 152 (1) of the Electoral Act in that she allegedly removed
a Zanu-PF campaign poster bearing the picture of Innocent Benza,
an aspiring parliamentary candidate representing the former ruling
party in Mutasa Central constituency on 16 July 2013 at Mutasa District
Community grounds. Nyambuya is represented by Cosmos Chibaya, a
member lawyer of ZLHR.
member, Godfrey Munyama, who is the party’s aspiring parliamentary
candidate for Mutasa South constituency will stand trial on Thursday
25 July 24, 2013 after he was arrested on Saturday 20 July 2013
for allegedly breaching Section 152 (1) of the Electoral Act. Prosecutors
allege that Munyama unlawfully and intentionally defaced a poster
displayed by Irene Zindi a Zanu-PF aspiring parliamentary candidate
contesting to represent the same constituency. Munyama, who is represented
by Chibaya is denying the allegations and argues that he was arrested
while he was pasting his own political campaign posters.
whose political affiliation is not known have also been targeted
as can be testified by Thembelisi Ndhlovu, who was arrested on suspicion
of removing posters. However, police did not have any evidence against
her and proceeded to release her after being profiled and indicated
that they will summon her after conducting further investigations.
Another ordinary resident Johnson Mlambo of Bulawayo was assaulted
by some Zanu-PF youths after he refused to take some flyers that
they were handing out to people during a campaign programme.
The bulk of
the victims who are Tsvangirai’s supporters include Tapiwa
Dandajena, who will stand trial next month after he was arrested
on 10 July 2013 for allegedly placing an MDC-T poster at Shamwarijoe
Hotel in Mvurwi, Mashonaland Central province.
The trial of
Elisha Chitofu and Shingirai Mhembere of Bindura, who are represented
by ZLHR member lawyer Ernest Jena and who were charged with destructing
some Zanu-PF political party posters as defined in Section 152 (1)
of the Electoral Act commences on 2 August 2013.
some unidentified MDC-T activists were also apprehended and charged
for allegedly spray-painting some bridges with graffiti.
victims include Johannes Chipadaza of Rusape, who was remanded out
of custody ton $100 bail to 7 August 2013 and Stanley Chawira, who
was recently released on free bail by Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka.
of Bindura was recently arrested on 16 July 2013 and charged with
disorderly conduct in public place as defined in Section 41(a) (b)
of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform Act. The State alleges that Mberenga
uttered an MDC-T party slogan ”Chinja maitiro maitiro chinja”
whilst passing close to some Zanu-PF party supporters who were receiving
t-Shirts and caps from an aspiring councillor one Innocent Zvigumbu.
He returns to court on 1 August 2013 for commencement of his trial.
Also up for
disorderly in a public place as defined in Section 41 (a) (b) of
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act are Ronald Mapfumo
and Fanuel Tangi who were arrested at a shopping centre for allegedly
wearing MDC-T t-shirts with the portrait of their party leader Morgan
In Karoi, Mashonaland
West province, six MDC-T party supporters including Ophias Chiputire
were arrested and charged with criminal insult after they were accused
of insulting Zanu-PF member Frank Ndambakuhwa while they were pasting
their party campaign posters.
Still in Karoi,
police only released some campaign material for Blessing Mandava,
the MDC-T parliamentary aspiring candidate for the Hurungwe East
constituency, which had been seized as some parents claimed that
he was conducting some campaigns within Kasimhure Primary School,
after the intervention of lawyers.
The police had
confiscated Mandava’s consignment of campaign material, which
he stored at his house at Kasimhure Primary School where he is teaching.
lawyer is sweating it out representing several Chinhoyi residents
Charles Mashonganyika, Calisto Mukucha, Farai Chisakambwi, Desmond
Charuza, Lucky Kautende, Defend Chisango, Jefta Twaya, and Bezel
Tsunge and Patrick Magadzire of Karoi who were arrested for pasting
up some political party campaign posters in Mashonaland West province.
Unganai Dickson Tarusenga, the MDC-T aspiring legislator for St
Mary’s constituency is answering to charges of violating Section
40 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he allegedly
distributed his posters with the support of two youths when more
supporters started to assist him during the with this process.
Falls, Matabeleland North province, Nqobani Ngwenya and Charles
Ncube, who are MDC-T party activists were arrested on 8 July 2013
for wearing MDC-T t-shirts. However, they were released without
a formal charge being levelled against them. The police indicated
that they are conducting further investigations and will summon
the two activists if need be.
Oswell Rusike was spared to stand trial after the complainant in
his matter elected to withdraw charges of contravening Section 153
of the Electoral Act before plea. Rusike had been arrested and detained
at Luveve police station on 16 July 2013 on allegations that he
defaced a Zanu-PF political campaign poster.
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