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Arrested MDC Alliance Leader in Court Over 'Flash' Protest

FILE: MDC Alliance leader Obey Sithole appearing in court.

Movement for Democratic Change Alliance youth leader, Obey Sithole, is expected to appear in court for an initial remand on criminal nuisance charges for allegedly participating in a demonstration early this month.

In a tweet, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Sithole, who spent his second day in police custody on Tuesday and is represented by Obey Shava, allegedly protested in public warning the government to desist from brutalizing MDC Alliance activists.

The ZLHR, in a statement, further said some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers released him from police cells yesterday morning to appear at Harare Magistrates Court “but later made a volte-face.”

The ZLHR said while Sithole and his lawyer were at the prosecutors’ “vetting” office at Harare Magistrates Court, ZRP officers decided to take him back to Harare Central Police Station, saying they had “received instructions from their superiors” who advised that it was too early to take him to court.

The MDC-Alliance party youth leader is charged with criminal nuisance as defined in section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Police allege that Sithole, together with some unidentified people who have not yet been apprehended, participated in a demonstration held at New Government Complex in Harare on 1 April 2021, where he sang protest songs with the lyrics “haikona kutamba neropa revakomana” and held placards inscribed "Free Mako, Free Joana, Ziyambi Must Go".

Meanwhile, the High Court is today expected to hear and make a determination on a fresh bail appeal filed by Harare West legislator, Joana Mamombe, and MDC-Alliance party youth leader Cecilia Chimbiri seeking to be released from Chikurubi Maximum Prison, where they have been in detention for 53 days.

Mamombe and Chimbiri, who are represented by Alec Muchadehama, Charles Kwaramba and Jeremiah Bamu of the ZLHR were arrested in March and charged for failing to confine themselves at home and convening a media briefing outside Harare Magistrates Court, calling for release of pro-democracy campaigner, Makomborero Haruzivishe, in contravention of Zimbabwe’s national lockdown regulations.

The hearing of their bail appeal will be the fourth time that they have sought to be released from prison pending the commencement of their trial.

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