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Tortured abductees charged over lockdown hunger protest





ZIMBABWEAN authorities on Tuesday charged three opposition MDC-Alliance party youth leaders, who are victims of abduction and torture, with committing public violence after they allegedly participated in an anti-government protest against hunger during the national lockdown period.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members on Tuesday 26 May 2020 charged Harare North legislator Hon. Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and for contravening section 5(3) (a) as read with section 5(1) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 of Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.

According to ZRP members, Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova, who are represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), allegedly participated in an illegal demonstration held on 13 May 2020 in Warren Park 1 suburb in which opposition MDC-Alliance party supporters allegedly staged a flash demonstration protesting against hunger at a time when the country was under a government enforced national lockdown.

The decision to press criminal charges against Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova come at a time when the trio is receiving treatment at a local medical facility following their abduction, disappearance and torture on 13 May 2020.

To date, no arrests have been made by ZRP of people who abducted, disappeared and tortured the opposition youth leaders.

Meanwhile, ZRP members on Tuesday 26 May 2020 arrested and charged Lovejoy Chitengu, the Youth Organising Secretary for the MDC-Alliance party's Harare Province with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and for contravening section 5(3)(a) as read with section 5(1) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 of Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.

The arrest of Chitengu, who is represented by Gift Mtisi of ZLHR, follows that of Stanley Manyenga, the opposition MDC-Alliance party Councillor for Ward 23 in Harare, who was arrested on 20 May 2020 on similar allegations.

Manyenga, who is represented by Mtisi, is accused of participating in an anti-government demonstration held on 13 May 2020 held at Warren Park 1 suburb, where he allegedly carried a placard inscribed " Unlock Us Before We Revolt".

Manyenga is out of custody after he was granted bail on Friday 22 May 2020.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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