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CHRA in solidarity with ZimRights leadership
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
January 18, 2013

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) condemns the continued arrests of Human rights defenders in the strongest terms. This has come in the wake of the recent arrest of Zimrights Director, Mr Okay Machisa and the deputy programs coordinator, Mr Leo Chamahwinya on trumped up charges that include conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery and publishing falsehoods. The Harare Magistrates Court on Wednesday 16 January 2013 remanded Machisa in custody up to 30 January where whilst Leo has been languishing in prison during the whole festive season to date.

The recent arrests come at a time when four remaining M.D.C-T activists have completed another year in prison despite lack of evidence to show that they killed a policeman in 2011. The state seems to be sending a message to all the progressive forces as we head for the referendum and subsequently watershed elections which should bring to a halt the shaky coalition government.

The CHRA detests and is appalled by this apparent criminalization of legitimate civic society work that we have been engaged in since time immemorial. We are cognizant of the fact that some political players are not comfortable with the rate at which people are registering to vote hence the onslaught on the Zimrights group.

CHRA will continue to fight for the democratization of local governance and demanding good governance at all levels. The principals to the inclusive government must put a stop to all these arrests and naked violation of fundamental freedoms. We challenge Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Professor Welshman Ncube to come out clean to the people of Zimbabwe with regards their stance on these unlawful detentions and arrests that continue to haunt our work. We maintain as an Association that we will not cow down to dirty and unlawful scare tactics by the state.

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