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Police Arrest, Charge ZimRights Director

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa was arrested on Monday and taken to Rhodesville Police Station where he was charged with publishing false and misleading public information.

Machisa, who voluntarily went to the police for questioning, is being charged with the alleged publication of false statements with the intention of inciting public disorder and violence, and also being part of a group charged with creating false voter registration certificates.

Police also raided the ZimRights Avenues office looking for evidence of the publications.

Attorney Beatrice Mtetwa told VOA Studio 7 that Machisa is facing trumped-up charges.

Mtetwa said she was surprised the police refused to release her client after they voluntarily went to the police. Mtetwa said the police action was "abuse of the detention procedures."

Machisa is expected in court this week.

Late last year, police raided the advocacy group’s offices in Harare and seized Dorcas Shereni, Leo Chamahwina, Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka, accusing them of conniving to discredit the state by producing a fogged voters’ register.

The state has alleged that the group forged voter registration certificates "to tarnish the name of the Registrar-General."

The four have been denied bail by a magistrate and a High Court judge on the grounds that their crime is so serious that they may abscond when released.

Meanwhile, dozens of Zanu PF supporters, most them veterans of the 1970s liberation struggle, over the weekend invaded Gutu Rural District Council land designated for sporting facilities and parcelled pieces of land to each other arguing they do not have space to plant seeds donated to them by President Robert Mugabe under the presidential well-wishers input scheme at the beginning of the current rainy season.