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Government castigated over opposition persecution

Opposition politicians and civic society organization have called on the government to stop persecution and victimization of those who advocate for good governance, workers’ rights, justice, accountability and transparency.

This follows a spate of arrests of media personnel, opposition and civic society leaders on various charges.

The government has however failed in their prosecution leading to louder calls to stop politically motivated arrests.

Currently a large number of opposition legislators, journalists and civic society leaders are on trial on various charges..

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole are currently in jail for inciting public violence after protests that followed the discovery of activist Moreblessing Ali’s mutilated body.

Ali’s was abducted in May in Nyatsime near Chitungwiza.

Her family appointed firebrand politician Sikhala to act as their lawyer as they demanded justice.

The two legislators have been continuously denied bail for over a month.

Also before the courts is freelance journalist Anyway Yotam who was arrested while filming a clash between City of Harare parking officials and informal parking barons.

He was assaulted during his arrest despite producing his press credentials before being taken to Harare Central Police Station where he was later charged.

Umbrella body for local civic society organisations Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has called on government to stop unjustifiable arrests.

“Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition calls on Mnangagwa’s government to end the colonian era methods of using the law enforcement and justice systems to mutilate the constitution of Zimbabwe by arresting and prosecuting those who justifiably speak out against his misgovernance,” CiZC said in a statement.

The statement comes at the backdrop of the arrest of CiZC spokesperson Obert Masaraure who is also Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president and secretary general Robson Chere.

“Masaraure, who was arrested on Friday, is being charged with inciting public violence and defeating the course of justice hardly a week after he was released on bail on a murder charge emanating from a 2016 death that was ruled by the High Court as a suicide.

“Police arrested Chere on the same murder charge and a day after, suspected state security agents raided Artuz offices and went on to ransack Masaraure’s home in Harare.”

CiZC said the chain of events is not coincidental as it comes at a time “when government is escalating its onslaught on civil society organisations that speak out for the realisation of people’s freedoms and against corruption, misgovernance and human rights violation as espoused in the constitution of Zimbabwe.”

CiZC said the chain of events is not coincidental as it comes at a time “when government is escalating its onslaught on civil society organisations that speak out for the realisation of people’s freedoms and against corruption, misgovernance and human rights violation as espoused in the constitution of Zimbabwe.”

“We have made a point and we continue to insist on that point that it’s clear persecution of political voices in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Our law protects citizens as innocent until proven guilty but something is rotten in our government politics and leadership.

“It’s self-evident, but we cannot continue to be spectators. It’s an ugly turn of events.”

Political analyst Tiwonei Chileya said the absence of prosecutions on government critics is an indication of persecution.

“The fact that many arrests are made but the government struggles in successful prosecutions are a good indicator that the law is just being used to silence dissenting voices,” he said.