Lawyers Denied Access To Detained MDC Supporters

The human rights lawyers, Charles Kwaramba and Marufu Mandevere of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) were denied access to their clients when they visited Harare Central Police Station, where some of their clients were detained.

The police told the lawyers that they could not entertain them as they were holding meetings. The police advised the lawyers that they were still carrying out investigations and would likely press murder charges against the detainees on Wednesday.

“We have been told to come back to the police station on Wednesday morning, that’s when the police said they would be recording statements from our clients,” said Kwaramba, the award winning human rights lawyer.

The Glenview residents were picked up by the police on Sunday evening and Monday morning as the police responded to the death of an officer who allegedly died after a confrontation as the police attempted to break up a meeting at a shopping centre in the suburb.

Meanwhile the MDC-T youth assembly secretary general, Promise Mkhwananzi, has gone into hiding fearing arrest for statements he made last month that police say incited the party’s youth to murder a cop on Sunday.

Police, who have arrested a dozen of MDC T youths, say Inspector Petros Mutedza, who was allegedly on duty to stop an illegal MDC-T meeting in Glenview, Harare, was killed by the party’s youths on Sunday.

Mkhwananzi on Tuesday night confirmed police wanted to arrest him in connection with his statements that police say incited the youths to kill the cop.

Mkhwananzi last month said MDC-T youths will not stand by while Zanu (PF) youths and police harass them on political grounds, saying they have mobilized themselves to fight back and defend themselves against aggression.

He made the comments during a memorial service for murdered Tonderai Ndira, Cain Nyeve, Better Chakururama and Godfrey Kaunzani that was held in the country’s capital, Harare.

“I am not staying at home for the meantime. Police have been to me house looking for me in connection with the killing of the cop.

“From what I understand, police say the comments I made last month must have incited the arrested residents to kill the cop on Sunday,” Mkhwananzi told Radio VOP on Tuesday night.

He added that he has decided to go into hiding as feels unsafe since Augustine Chihuri, the Police Commissioner, on Tuesday also said those suspected of having a hand in the killing of the cop on Sunday should be hanged.

Chihuri said: “The Zimbabwe Republic Police shall not, and I repeat, shall not sit on its laurels while innocent citizens of this country, let alone police officers are being decimated by uncouth opposition political elements in a naïve and imbecilic attempt to make our country ungovernable. Those who wish to live by the sword must be prepared to die by the sword.”

The MDC-T has confirmed the arrest of its supporters but insists that they are innocent of the charges.

“The arrest of MDC members is a clear attempt by the police and Zanu (PF) to try and portray the MDC as a violent party, which it clearly is not,” the party said in a statement. “