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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Zimbabweans 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.

    Court papers 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 African country.

    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.

    Authorities 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.

    In Manicaland, 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.

    Another MDC 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.

    Ordinary residents 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.

    In Bindura, some unidentified MDC-T activists were also apprehended and charged for allegedly spray-painting some bridges with graffiti.

    Other MDC-T 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.

    Simbarashe Mberenga 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 Tsvangirai.

    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.

    Kudzai Choga 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.

    In Chitungwiza, 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.

    In Victoria 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.

    In Bulawayo, 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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