Zimbabwe’s opposition slams arrests of women activists

Campaigners from Movement for Democratic Change Alliance held for 'abusing' police officers during rally

Jeffrey Moyo   | 02.02.2021
Zimbabwe’s opposition slams arrests of women activists

HARARE, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party on Tuesday condemned the arrest of three of its women activists.

Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova were arrested in the capital Harare on Monday for allegedly abusing police officers during a demonstration.

The protest called for the release of Job Sikhala, deputy chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC Alliance), who was jailed for allegedly publishing a false report on social media. Sikhala was released on bail later in the day.

“We condemn the arbitrary arrests against the MDC trio, members of the opposition and critics of President Mnangagwa's failed government,” said Fadzayi Mahere, the party's spokeswoman.

“This continued violation of law and citizens' rights at a time when progressive nations are focused on fighting COVID-19 confirms that the regime has lost the battle of ideas. But the people will not stop fighting for democracy. Not even imprisonment will silence us,” she told Anadolu Agency.

According to police, the three activists were held for using “abusive” language against officers and obstructing their duties.

One of the arrested activists, Marova, was later released without charge, while Mamombe and Chimbiri were detained overnight, according to the activists’ lawyers.

Mahere was also arrested last month and released on bail recently for allegedly communicating falsehoods in a case in which a police officer enforcing government lockdown measures was linked to the death of an infant. She is recovering from coronavirus, which she reportedly contracted in jail.

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