Home Affairs Ministers Under Pressure

Harare – HUMAN rights lawyers this week turned on the heat on the country’s co-Home Affairs Ministers imploring them to explain their complicity in the continued incarceration of senior Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and a photo-journalist.

In a letter addressed to the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) rights lawyers Alec Muchadehama, Andrew Makoni and Charles Kwaramba, who have been representing the trio with the support of rights group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) protested the serious violation of their clients’ freedoms and demanded some explanations from Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi, the co-Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the Attorney General Johannes Tomana and the AG’s senior law officers, who have blocked the release of the political prisoners.

“The Ministries of Justice and Home affairs and their officers have taken it upon themselves to kidnap our clients for the second time within six months. The implications of what has been done to our clients, to the rule of law and administration of justice are grave. 

For the umpteenth time, Ministers and State security agents have acted in contempt of Court orders and resorted to the law of the jungle.  Our work as lawyers is being seriously hamstrung by persons who deliberately, and with impunity choose to violate citizens’ rights,” read part of the human rights attorney’s letter seen by this reporter.

MDC members Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini who are facing what lawyers have described as trumped up charges and are accused of insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism are currently detained under police guard at Avenues Clinic in Harare, where they are receiving medical treatment for injuries sustained during their torture by state security agents and police who abducted them last year.

The police have also mounted a manhunt for freelance photojournalist Andrison Manyere who is believed to be on the run, although his lawyers have denied this.

Manyere, Dhlamini and Mudzingwa were granted bail by the High Court early April but the State invoked the provisions of Section 121 (3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) to deny them their freedom.

Rights lawyers argue that the State failed to comply with the provisions of Section 121 (1) of the (CPEA) in that they failed to obtain leave to appeal and note their appeal within seven days hence their clients should be free.

Mudzingwa this week slammed Mutsekwa, the secretary for defence in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party for failing to secure his freedom from unwarranted detention.

Tsvangirai formed a coalition government with ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe in February after months of dispute over a power-sharing agreement. The two agreed to share the contentious portfolio of Home Affairs, which has been abused for years by President Mugabe’s administration to arrest dozens of human rights and opposition activists.