(Last Updated on January 12, 2021 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – Opposition MDC Alliance has condemned the continued use of State institutions to persecute opposition members and other human rights defenders including journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who was again recently arrested on flimsy charges of “communicating falsehoods.”
MDC Alliance’s Deputy Secretary for Communications, Clifford Hlatshwayo said the Zanu-PF government was abusing State institutions to targets those who oppose it while reiterating the sentiments by the party’s leader Nelson Chamisa, who said arrests made on non-existing laws represent “dictatorial rule and severe abuse of power.”
“MDC Alliance strongly condemns the continued abuse of national justice institutions through the arrests of Vice-Chairman Hon. Job Sikhala, Party Spokesperson Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, Harare Mayor His Worship Jacob Mafume, investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, student leader Allan Moyo and wrongly convicted prisoners: Last Maingehama and Tungamirirai Madzokere together with other political prisoners who are continuously being persecuted by the State.
“The ZanuPf government is abusing state institutions by continuously persecuting opposition leaders and human rights defenders. We reiterate the people’s President Advocate Nelson Chamisa’s sentiments that the arrest pertaining to non-existing crimes represents dictatorial rule, severe abuse of power and an attack on the rule of law. Persecution through prosecution reflects authoritarian consolidation rather than democratization,” said Hlatywayo.
Hlatywayo further said there was concern over the violation of Mafume’s rights to health and bail, who has been in custody for almost a month now without trial and was reportedly ill.
“We have also noted with concern the denial of Constitutionally guaranteed right to health for His Worship Mayor Mafume who is reportedly ill and is deliberately exposed to environments fertile for contracting the deadly coronavirus. Mayor Jacob Mafume deserves both his right to bail and right to access proper medical assistance with immediate effect,” Hlatywayo added.
Commenting on the recent arrest of two MDC Alliance top officials, Mahere and Silkhala, and veteran journalist Hopewell Chin’onon, he said this was law-fare targeting to destroy those who hold different views from the ruling party.
“It must be highlighted that this recent spate of arrests targeting Hon. Job Sikhala, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere and Hopewell Chin’ono is illegal as is it premised on charges that were long declared unconstitutional by the highest court in Zimbabwe. It is pure law-fare targeted to terminally bleed the democratic contingent considered to be holding different views from ZANU PF.
“Solidarity is a critical pillar of the MDC Alliance as a social democratic party and we shall pursue democratic and constitutional channels to show that people power is stronger than the people in power in demand for freedom for all prisoners of conscience,” said Hlatywayo.
Legal experts say the provision used to arrest Chin’ono and two MDC Alliance members, Job Sikhala and Fadzayi Mahere was struck off in 2014.