Twelve members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Nelson Chamisa, who were arrested Saturday following streets skirmishes with the police in Chitungwiza, have appeared in court facing charges of participating in a gathering with intent to cause public violence.
Police had running battles with some MDC activists outside the Chitungwiza Magistrates’ Courts after they were denied entry into a court where the accused appeared before Vongai Muchuchutu.
Muchuchutu denied them bail saying they are likely to interfere with witnesses.
State prosecutor Rumbidzai Mushonga asked the magistrate to deny the MDC activists bail claiming that the 12 are capable of engaging in violence in Chitungwiza and other areas.
But their attorneys, Moses Nkomo and Jeremiah Bhamu, argued that their clients had no case to answer as they can’t be linked to any orgy of violence in Chitungwiza.
Local police chief, Tsitsi Mharadzano, claimed that that some of the MDC activists are influential people capable of causing political disturbances if they are granted bail.
Political commentator Mlungisi Dube said it’s surprising that the police are blocking all MDC meetings without giving any valid reasons.
“I believe that this may be a well-calculated crackdown to suppress any form of dissent in Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwean police recently arrested 47 political activists who were engaged in street protests in 2019 following fuel price increases of up to 150 percent.
Concerned Citizens Movement, a group linked to the ruling party, recently circulated posters on social media calling for protests at Nelson Chamisa’s rural home in Gutu and the homes of Sikhala and Tendai Biti. They are accusing the three of urging the West to impose sanctions on Zanu PF officials.