A Harare magistrate on Tuesday ordered a full investigation into the assault of Movement for Democratic Change legislator, Ronia Bunjira, a freelance journalist and other activists who were arrested Monday following a demonstration held by opposition youths in the capital.
A freelance journalist and six MDC-T members were arraigned before a Harare magistrate facing charges of obstructing the free movement of vehicles and people following an opposition protest in which youths marched through the city’s central business district Monday demanding jobs from the Zanu PF government.
After hearing an application by defense attorney Obey Shava, magistrate Douglas Chikwekwe, ordered a full investigation into the assault of journalist Danmore Tshuma, Bunjira and five other activists. The accused persons told the court through their lawyer that they were severely assaulted while in police custody.
Shava said Bunjira suffered serious head injuries and swollen thighs while Tshuma suffered back and hand injuries. Other accused persons suffered leg injuries and were swollen while one of them was bleeding profusely.
Bunjira is also the MDC-T’s chairperson of the women’s wing in Harare province.
The defense attorney also requested the court to order the state to furnish the court with the exact date when a full report of its investigation would be presented in court.
Shava said this was necessary to see the exact details of the alleged assault of the activists and scribe that he described as “barbaric”.
The magistrate postponed the matter to Wednesday for the purpose of the hearing of a bail application.
Meanwhile, human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, has urged Harare to respect human rights and protect human rights defenders.
The organization’s deputy director for southern Africa, Noel Kututwa, said President Robert Mugabe should use his new powers as Southern African Development Community chairperson to promote human rights and end state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe.
He told Studio 7 from Johannesburg, South Africa, that Mr. Mugabe’s position demands that he leads by example.
Opposition youths marched in Harare on Monday demanding that President Mugabe’s administration fulfills its pre-election promise of creating more than two million jobs.
But the protests were crashed by the police who assaulted the activists on the streets. At the time the MDC-T youths were being assaulted, President Mugabe was in Victoria Falls where he assumed the SADC chairmanship.