Chamisa arrested at Aids forum

Gift Phiri

THREE members of Zimbabwe’s main opposition – including the party’s national youth chairman – were arrested late on Wednesday after addressing a youth Aids forum in Chitungwiza.
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Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) national youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa, youth secretary-general Bekithemba Mpofu and his deputy Obert Manzunzu, were arrested at Unit A pre-school in Chitungwiza minutes after addressing hundreds of party supporters in the satellite city about 25 km southeast of Harare.

The three were detained overnight at Chitungwiza police station. They were transferred to Harare central police station’s Law and Order section yesterday where they were still held at the time of going to print.

Police yesterday confirmed the arrest but said the youth leaders breached security laws by holding a “political” gathering without police clearance.

“Police can confirm the arrest of the three MDC youth leaders,” police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said. “They were arrested for holding a political gathering without informing the police.

“The gathering could have been called an Aids forum but they ended up discussing factionalism in the MDC and support for certain individuals. Irrespective of the name that one gives to an occasion, there is need for the convener to inform the police according to the Public Order and Security Act.”

The MDC yesterday insisted that the meeting was convened to discuss Aids issues. The opposition party described the arrest of its youth leaders as a sad blow in the ongoing struggle to combat the spread of HIV in the country.