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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Photojournalist's whereabouts unknown
    March 12, 2007

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    The whereabouts of Tsvangirai Mukwazhi a photojournalist who freelances for Associated Press remained unknown on 12 March 2007 amid reports he had been arrested together with leaders of opposition political parties during skirmishes in Harare during which police shot and killed an opposition MDC activist in cold blood.

    Lawyers representing the arrested politicians and civic leaders told MISA-Zimbabwe on 12 March 2007 that they were battling to ascertain at which police station Mukwazhi was being held.

    Mukwazhi, a freelance photojournalist was arrested together with a colleague at Associated Press, Tendai Musiyu, a freelance television producer, who is being held at Marlborough Police Station. "We are still to locate Mukwazhi but have since established that Tendai is being held at Marlborough police station," said lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

    Gift Tandare, an MDC activist, was shot and killed in Highfield on 11 March 2007 when police cordoned off Zimbabwe Grounds, venue of a scheduled national day of prayer organised under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign which is being spearheaded by Christian Alliance. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and severely assaulted by police who are detaining him at Borrowdale Police Station.

    Speaking at a news conference in Harare on 12 March 2007, leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign condemned the arrests and assaults as barbaric and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the leaders. Frantic efforts were also being made to file an urgent High Court order to secure their release.

    Tsvangirai was arrested together with National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, Authur Mutambara leader of the other MDC faction, legislator Job Sikhala and Grace Kwinje and Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai faction. Madhuku is reported to have fractured an arm following the severe assaults by the police.

    In a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association on 21 February 2007 the government imposed a three-month ban on demonstrations and political rallies in Harare.

    The police cited the violence, looting and destruction of property in Highfield on 18 February and Kambuzuma on 4 February 2007 as reasons for the ban. On the 18th, police violently stopped a High Court sanctioned rally in Highfield by the opposition MDC leading to violent clashes between riot police and supporters of the main opposition party.

    The police invoked the restrictive Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to effect the bans under Section 27 which allows for the temporary prohibition of the holding of public gatherings within police districts for a period not exceeding three months.

    The clashes in Highfield came a day after the High Court granted the MDC an order allowing them to proceed with their rally to launch its 2008 presidential campaign at the Zimbabwe grounds in the same suburb.

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