More activists arrested as Mugabe hits panic button

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Oct 1, 2007
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More activists arrested as Mugabe hits panic button
by Lance Guma

Robert Mugabe's regime appears to have hit the panic button, having ordered the arrest of a total of 93 activists in the last 2 weeks alone.

With street protests having toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, the ZANU PF leader, who has been in power for over 30 years, seems determined to pre-empt any people driven revolution in Zimbabwe.

It started in Nyanga North two weeks ago when police arrested the local MDC-T MP and joint chairman of the national constitution making exercise, Douglas Mwonzora, plus 23 villagers aligned to his party. The cooked-up charges related to public violence, but even though all 24 were granted bail the Mugabe regime invoked controversial legislation to suspend the bail order.

On Friday MDC-99 faction leader Job Sikhala was arrested by heavily armed police who initially claimed they wanted to question him over statements made on his Facebook page. The former MP for St Mary's was then accused of being behind planned street protests set for 1st March. Police later charged Sikhala with kidnapping, alleging this is linked to a diamond deal that went wrong.

On the 19th February police units broke into a meeting in Harare and arrested former MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 activists who were watching video footage of protests in the Middle East and North Africa. A discussion on the protests was later held before police disrupted the meeting. The regime charged them with treason last week and promptly tortured the alleged ring leaders, including Gwisai.

Meanwhile MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa was in court on Tuesday to show solidarity with Gwisai and the 44 activists being detained. A scheduled hearing for Monday was cancelled after the trial magistrate failed to show up. The meeting he cited as an excuse was in fact held with Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, who allegedly 'summoned' the magistrate for unexplained reasons. On Tuesday the case was postponed to the 7th of March.

Chamisa told us "As the MDC we are totally opposed to the harassment of citizens. In as much as we don't agree with Gwisai and his views, Sikhala who has his own views, possibly his own party, we feel there is no justification for persecuting them for holding their views. In fact this is what makes the garden beautiful. When you have different flowers, different colours that make politics much more glorious."

On Monday the pressure group Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA & MOZA) released a statement saying 21 people including 7 of its members were arrested from their houses in Bulawayo while two were badly beaten. The charges are not clear and they are being denied medical treatment. Some of the activists were loaded into a white van and taken to Western Commonage police station in Mpopoma south.

Also on Monday there was the case of MDC youth activist Patrick Kamanga, who his party says was abducted Monday morning by a group of ZANU PF thugs in the Magaba area of Mbare in Harare. "Kamanga was at work in the area when ZANU PF youths, armed with an assortment of weapons, pounced on him and started attacking before they abducted him and took him to a secluded place in the area."

There was relief for the MDC-T on Tuesday with reports that Kamanga was released in the evening; "Working on a tip-off, Mbare's Matapi police officers made a follow up, tracking down the thugs from their base in Mbare. However, no one was arrested," the MDC-T statement said.

Kamanga reports being moved from Mbare 3 Musika to Koffman plot where the youths further assaulted him on the feet telling him to give them information on the whereabouts of the Mbare district executive members.

So February and March of 2011 seem to be continuing with the violence and intimidation that has been evident around the country since the beginning of the year, and which was also unleashed on Harare in January. ZANU PF youths, bused in from rural areas, created chaos in Mbare assaulting perceived MDC-T supporters and ZANU PF MP and Youth Minister, Savior Kasukuwere, was implicated as organising the violence from his house.



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May 14, 2009
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Wow. I hope they do something and get him out. As an American, the idea of "thought police", unlawful detainee's and illegal searches infuriates me.


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Feb 18, 2009
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Those arrested will be lucky to leave the prison alive.

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