‘We’re under siege’ – MDC

Leader of Zimbabwes biggest opposition party, Nelson Chamisa is seen during an interview with the Associated Press in Harare, Thursday, March, 8, 2018. Chamisa is a charismatic lawyer and trained pastor who seeks to capitaliize on goodwill towards his deceased predecessor and highlight the past of his militarty backed opponent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

NELSON Chamisa’s MDC party has raised alarm over the “arbitrary” arrest of its activists and top leadership in the past few days, with the latest being national organising secretary Amos Chibaya who was detained by the police yesterday on a charge of failing to stop last Friday’s protests in Harare.

In a statement last night, party deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka described the arrests as a clampdown on citizens’ rights.

“Chibaya was the convener of the MDC’s proposed peaceful demonstrations in four cities that were later foiled by the police after they issued four prohibition orders to stop citizens in the respective cities from exercising their democratic rights as enshrined in the supreme law of the land,” he said.

“Upon hearing that the police were looking for him, Chibaya handed himself at Harare Central Police Station at around 4pm yesterday in the company of his lawyer, Obey Shava. Hon Chibaya, who is still with his lawyer, is still being quizzed by the police.”

Added Tamborinyoka: “Hon Chibaya is currently on bail on yet another trumped-up charge of subversion emanating from the January 2019 disturbances and for which he has been slapped with reporting
conditions.”

The MDC further indicated that the arrest of Chibaya was testimony that Zimbabwe had now turned into a pariah State.

“His arrest is testimony of the closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe. In fact, the country is under a de facto state of emergency, judging by the abductions, torture and arrests of innocent Zimbabweans in the past few days,”
Tamborinyoka added.

Police confirmed the arrest, saying Chibaya was in custody after failing to rein in demonstrators following the police ban.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed Chibaya’s arrest.

“Yes, he has been arrested for contravention of sections of POSA (Public Order and Security Act) that after the demonstration was prohibited by the responsible authority and confirmed by the court, he failed to deal with the
demonstrators,” he said.

Dozens of MDC activists have been arrested since last week as police foiled the opposition protests planned in Harare.

The party had lined up similar protests in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Gweru before police moved in and issued prohibition orders. – News Day