A Zimbabwean lawmaker appeared in court Monday facing charges of attempting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Twenty-five year old Joanna Mamombe of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa allegedly urged party supporters to engage in anti-government protests sometime in January, which were quashed by state security agents that shot dead at least 12 civilians and arrested more than 1,000 people.
Mamombe, who was arrested Saturday and faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted, is currently locked up at Chikurubi Prison, a few kilometers east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
Her attorney, Jeremiah Bhamu, who is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, says the state should drop the charges due to the mysterious circumstances in which Mamombe was arrested and failure by the police to bring her to court as per the stipulated 48-hour period.
Bhamu says there are serious inconsistences in Mamombe’s case.
“… She was not informed of the reasons for her arrest, upon arrest. In court today the arresting detail struggled to tell the courts the reason why she arrested her. If he struggled in that manner again it would automatically follow that even at the time of arrest he did not know why he was placing her under arrest. He was just acting on instructions from we do not know who.”
Mamombe is facing a charge of subverting a constitutional government. “In essence they are saying she tried to overthrow the government.”
State prosecutors were not available for comment.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in January over the high cost of living following President Mnangagwa’s announcement of fuel price increases of up to 150 percent.