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Zimbabwe Police Arrest MDC Alliance Youth Leader

FILE: MDC supporters protesting in the streets of Harare.

Police have arrested Movement for Democratic Change Alliance Youth Assembly chairperson, Obey Sithole, for allegedly participating in a gathering to instigate public violence.

In a statement, MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzai Mahere said Sithole “is charged under Section 7 of the Criminal Code which related to participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, for breaching Section 5 of Statutory Instrument 99/2020 (the COVID19 Regulations) which prohibit public gatherings that exceed 50 people.”

Mahere said Sithole’s arrest “is yet another in the growing list of coordinated, trumped up charges against the MDC Alliance and its affiliates.”

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi was unreachable for comment.

Meanwhile, Nelson Chamisa’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, was on Wednesday released on Z$20,000 bail following his arrest sometime this week.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested, charged and detained Advocate Mpofu on allegations of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

Advocate Mpofu presented himself to in the company of his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to the police at Morris Depot, Anti-Corruption Unit.

Advocate Mpofu had received information that about eleven (11) armed officers visited his home on May 31 looking for him.

Allegations against him are that he drafted an affidavit on behalf of Simbarashe Zuze, who is said not to exist, and falsified that it had been sworn before Choice Damiso, then filed it at the Constitutional Court in a matter challenging the appointment of the Prosecutor General.

He is further alleged to have filed a second Constitutional Court application (Case Number CCZ 3/2019) in connivance with Joshua Chirambwe, upon realising that the first application had failed, containing duplicate information from that contained in the affidavit of Zuze in a bid to stop enquiry into the existence of Simbarashe Zuze thereby defeating the judicial proceedings. Reacting to his arrest, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said, “… the court application mentioned in the allegations, Case Number CCZ 3/2019 is still ongoing at the Constitutional Court and the court has not provided a judgment in this case.

“The Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the separation of powers between the three arms of government, the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature. The arrest of Advocate Mpofu in relation to a case that is ongoing before the Constitutional Court and yet to be finalised is an assault on the principle of separation of powers. As a lawyer, Advocate Mpofu has a right to practice a trade or occupation of his choice as provided for under section 64 of the 2013 Constitution. When practicing his trade, he must do so without fear or favour.”

The lawyers group has documented several cases involving its lawyers who were “subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention and facing similar charges of obstructing justice - all of which came to naught in the past.

“We are well aware of the Machiavellian tactics of the law enforcement agents and other state institutions who have everything to fear from lawyers who represent their clients without fear or favour and insist on full compliance with the law and constitutional safeguards. State institutions and actors must understand that lawyers are officers of the court. They have rights to carry out their professional duties without hindrance, and these rights should be understood and respected. Lawyers should not be associated with their clients’ cause and must be protected, rather than vilified and subjected to such criminal and degrading behaviour.”

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