The two, Thulani Ndhlovu and Ndodana Ndhlovu, were arrested despite the fact that the police were present throughout the workshop.
Ndodana Ndhlovu was subsequently released but Thulani Ndhlovu was yesterday still in police custody and being charged with contravening Section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), which Zesn and many other civic and human rights groups want to see repealed.
“We have in the past also criticised partisan policing and this latest arrest is a worrisome continuation of the same trend,” said Zesn chairperson Tinoziva Bere. “At the time of this statement, Thulani has been transferred to Hwange police station and lawyers have been deployed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to attend to the matter.”
The arrest came barely five days after the arrest of National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) board chair Dadirai Chikwengo and chief executive Officer Cephas Zinhumwe in Victoria Falls on similar charges.
Chikwengo and Zinhumwe appeared in court on Tuesday and were released on US$100 bail each.
“These developments are very disturbing as they drastically undermine efforts of building confidence in national processes which Zesn had despite its concerns been willing to give a chance,” Bere said. “Such action on the part of state institutions and actors against legitimate and lawful citizens’ participation make one wonder why all of a sudden the police are particularly keen to monitor the activities of civic organisations.