By Tichaona Sibanda
13 activists from Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) were arrested up by the police outside the High Court on Wednesday, for protesting against ongoing human rights abuses in the country.
ROHR said their activists were protesting against the continued incarceration of eight MDC-T activists who have remained behind bars since they were arrested on 29th May.
Defence lawyer Gift Mtisi told SW Radio Africa that he was being blocked from accessing his clients who were being moved from department to department at the Harare central police station.
“I doubt they will be released today (Wednesday) because they haven’t been charged with anything yet. This is why they’re being moved from place to place because they don’t know what to charge them with,” Mtisi said.
The activists demonstrated outside the High Court with placards calling for impartiality by police and judicial officials in dealing with opponents of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. The eight MDC-T activists were due to appear before the court for a fresh bail hearing, but that was postponed again to Thursday after the state prosecutor failed to attend the session.
The hearing was first postponed on Monday to Tuesday. On Tuesday it was postponed to Wednesday after prosecutors said they were not yet ready. The activists are still in remand prison on charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View is to be heard at the High court in Harare on Wednesday.
Their defence team, led by Jeremiah Bamu is hoping a change in circumstances and the ‘weakening’ of the state case will work in favour of their clients. The eight are part of a group of 24 MDC-T activists facing trumped up charges of murdering a police officer at Glen View 3 Shopping Centre in May. The police officer was killed by unknown revelers at a night club and the MDC-T has dismissed the murder charges as false and trumped up.
16 members of the group were eventually released on bail. The eight that were denied bail two weeks ago, and have now been detained for eight weeks, are: Tungamirai Madzokere, Stanford Maengahama, Phenias Nhatarikwa, Stanford Mangwiro, Yvonne Musarurwa, Rebecca Mafukeni, Cynthia Fungai Manjoro and Lazarus Maengahama.
Pro-democracy activist, Hopewell Gumbo who visited the group at Chikurubi Maximum prison on Wednesday, was only able to see Manjoro.
“Prison officers blocked me from seeing the others but Cynthia looked fine and was in high spirits. But as you know, a prison cell is not home and these guys are angry that their case keeps being postponed for flimsy reasons,” Gumbo told SW Radio Africa.