A Zimbabwean Supreme Court justice Tuesday ordered lawyers for prominent Matabeleland activist Paul Siwela, facing treason charges for activism in the Mthwakazi Liberation Front which is demanding Matabeleland independence, to produce an affidavit signed by Siwela promising not to engage in further such activities if he is granted bail.
Supreme Court Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku heard arguments by prosecutors and lawyers for Siwela in Harare before demanding the affidavit from Siwela, arrested on March 3 with two colleagues since released. He is being held at Khami Prison in Bulawayo.
The High Court granted Siwela bail last month, but state prosecutors objected saying that a separate 2004 treason charge against him had yet to be adjudicated.
Advocate Lucas Nkomo, a member of the Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers representing Siwela, told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the order by Chidyausiku was unusual.
In Bulawayo, meanwhile, riot police beat up members of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise who were demonstrating against high charges levied by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and protesting its continued monopoly in the sector.