Three members of Zimbabwe's Christian Alliance, are now free of charges of holding an illegal political meeting and trying to incite violence, following a magistrate's decision Monday.
Reverend Ray Motsi, activist Pius Wakatama and Reverend Wilson Mugabe where arrested in January, together with eight others, during the launch of a chapter of the organization in Kadoma, Mashonaland West, as part of a nationwide drive to establish Christian leaders' networks in the country's ten provinces.
Police eventually dropped the charges against five of the eight Christian Alliance leaders - Jonathan Gokovah, head of the organization’s Ecumenical Support Services Unit and also spokesman for the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, Pastor Ancelimo Magaya, Pastor Zvizai Chiponda, Lawrence Berejena and Gerald Mubaiwa - but upheld the charges for the three released Monday.
Armed police officers reportedly disrupted the January meeting where an estimated 500 church leaders and Christian lay people had gathered, in hopes of creating local chapters of the alliance as platforms to equip Christian leaders on church based advocacy and peace building.
Advocate Tim Cherry who represented the church leaders, told Studio 7 the magistrate dropped the charges because it failed to come up with enough evidence to prosecute the.
Spokesperson Pius Wakatama of the Christian Alliance told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that the state harassed them for standing up for the rights of the people.