Phojournalist Andrison Manyere and Nkosana Dlamini, together with an Movement for Democratic Change of the Morgan Tsvangirai Faction (MDC) T employee, Diana Nyikadzino and two others were arrested on Saturday at St John’s Retreat in Harare South before being locked up overnight at Waterfalls Police Stations.
They were later taken to Harare Central Police Law and Order section where they were charged with violating the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Police accused them of being “criminal nuisance”.
Observers said Manyere and Dlamini were arrested after participants demanded that the duo be ejected from the meeting and apprehended as they allegedly had no authority to
However, Piniel Denga, the MDC T legislator for Mbare, who was the co-team leader of the Team 9 Mashonaland East which presided over the meeting, said the two journalists were authorised to cover the meeting.
The same group of participants also called for the arrest of Nyikadzino accusing her of disrupting the meeting after she contributed on the National Youth Service.
Meanwhile, Joshua Manyere, the participant at the St John’s retreat COPAC outreach meeting who was attacked by suspected Zanu (PF) supporters on Saturday was reportedly recovering at a Harare hospital.
Manyere was stoned on his genitals and stabbed at the back of his head. Nurses at the hospital told Radio VOP that X-rays taken on Saturday revealed that the 32 year old man from Hopley farm had not suffered any life threatening injuries.
According to eye witness accounts, the vocal Manyere upset suspected Zanu (PF) supporters when he made contributions which were contrary to their party position.
During the meeting it is alleged that one participant slapped Manyere on the cheek in the full glare of COPAC officials and began pulling down his trousers demanding that stops contributing.
Manyere raised complaints with the COPAC team which ignored his pleas for help and instead, police dragged him to a secluded area where suspected youth militia and Zanu (PF) supporters attacked him using clenched fists, stones and a knife before he was whisked away to a local hospital by his family.