A Zimbabwean legal practitioner Brian Dube, currently representing some people who were brutalized and arrested by state security agents, claims that he was attacked in the Magistrates Courts in Gweru by a lawyer said to be linked to the ruling Zanu PF party, a few days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to deal ruthlessly with human rights lawyers and other activists.
Dube claims that Tinomudaishe Chinyoka attacked him while he was in Court Three awaiting to represent a client.
“… He (Chinyoka) charged towards me from the back and assaulted me by pressing me hard on my right collar bone with force and I felt pain. He proceed to threaten that he will deal with me with unspecified action for allegedly pissing him off. When the court adjourned, the same Tinomudaishe Chinyoka approached me and continued with (the) same threats bragging that he was powerful and connected and was going to deal with me.”
Dube claims that he reported the threats to a local magistrates and filed a formal complaint at the Gweru Central Police Station.
“Through my investigations I have gathered that he is a legal practitioner and currently deployed to monitor on behalf of the party to which he belongs the lawyers who are dealing with cases of the alleged national shutdown. The same person is cited in my client's defence as the one coordinating and coaching witnesses in Midlands against opposition members.
“I feel violated, and professionally interfered with. I am now working under fear and this seriously affects my independence in doing my professional work.”
Chinyoka was unavailable for comment.
According to the privately-owned Standard newspaper, Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters at a ‘thank you’ rally in Masvingo’s Mwenezi district on Saturday that the government was hunting down human rights lawyers and doctors who assisted protesters during the military crackdown.
“In Harare and Bulawayo violent protesters were preventing people from going to work and even burning buses. We don’t want violence, so I said soldiers go and silence these people, they were silenced. In places like Bulawayo, they were moving around telling people to go and engage in violence. They told them that if anyone gets arrested, they should go to a certain place, there are lawyers waiting to defend them. “If anyone gets hurt, they should go to a certain place, there are doctors waiting to treat them.
“We are now going after those doctors who were involved in those activities. Those lawyers that were inciting violence, we are now going after them. So, those who choose violence, we are prepared.”
There was no response from human rights doctors and lawyers.
Mnangagwa further said he was ready to launch another crackdown on protesters who will participate in public riots in Zimbabwe.
“Now they are planning more chaos, but we are telling everyone in the country that if you do not want peace, take part in the noise! Those that want peace, stay at home, so that we deal with those that want violence.
“We will sort them out. Those who come to you inviting you to the protests, tell them to pass, what you are saying has bad omens of Legion.”