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Chamisa, 13 others arrested

Staff Writer

GOVERNMENT this week intensified political repression by cracking down on what it claims are illegal meetings by civic and opposition leaders.

, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Police yesterday arrested Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) youth leader Nelson Chamisa for holding a meeting in his Kuwadzana constituency in Harare.

Chamisa, who is MP for Kuwadzana, was picked up with 13 others. He was initially detained with one of the suspects at Marimba police station, while the rest were held at Warren Park police station before they were all moved to Harare Central police station. The detainees’ lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, was last night battling to secure their release.

“He (Chamisa) was charged under Section 24, Subsection 6 of the Public Order & Security Act (Posa) which prohibits people from organising a public gathering without authority of the police,” Muchadehama said.

“He is currently at Harare Central police station with 13 others. We have been trying to get them released but without success. I’m not sure whether they will appear in court.”

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed Chamisa’s arrest but could not give details. The arrest came two days after heavily-armed police raided the MDC’s two offices in Bulawayo, claiming to be looking for “subversive material”.

The police, who have searched the opposition’s offices on numerous occasions, ransacked the party’s Bulawayo offices and seized documents.

Police also arrested the leader of the National Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku, in the early hours of Wednesday morning for holding a prohibited demonstration.

Madhuku was charged under Posa but was not taken to court. His arrest was in reaction to an anti-government protest that he organised last week against the proposed Non-Governmental Organisations Bill.

Madhuku said his arrest was clear evidence of escalating political repression and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. He suggested Zimbabwe was increasingly becoming a police state due to mounting repression.

“What is clear is that this is just repression. I was arrested at 2am and the police took me to our office which they ransacked, saying they were looking for subversive documents,” Madhuku said.

“The police warned me in the presence of my lawyer that one of these days I could be killed, not by themselves but by other people opposed to our agenda. They gave me an example of how (Herbert) Chitepo was killed. I was given a long lecture on that issue.”

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