The paper reported on Monday that Irene Petras of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Joy Mabenga of the Institute for Democratic Alliances for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM), and freelance journalist Jealousy Mawarire were arrested in the Safari Hotel lobby where the summit took place.
Lloyd Kuveya of the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) also suggested that the reported Namibian Police action appeared to have been at the behest of Zimbabwean security police who recognised the Zimbabweans at the summit.
A statement issued by Chief Inspector Angula Amulungu of the Namibian Police said at “no stage were the three arrested or detained”.
He said that the Police did not take any person into its holding cells anywhere in Windhoek.
He did, however, confirm that the group was instructed to leave the summit premises after the security detail noticed that the group was not accredited to attend the event as required by the organisers.
“These people were in groups; one group was not accredited,” said Amulungu, adding that it was trying to get into the summit.
Amulungu said journalist Mawarire, apart from not being accredited for the summit, “could have been arrested for transgressing immigration laws which require him to possess a temporary work permit, which he admittedly did not have when asked to produce it”.
He said the Namibian Police’s mandate to maintain law and order, “did not land on our hands by coincidence by rather through Constitutional mandate and we are proud to carry it out without fear or favour”.
The CEO of the Nangof Trust, Ivin Lombardt, said he had established by yesterday afternoon that the three Zimbabweans were “detained” on the premises of the Safari Hotel and then released two hours later – some time between 15h00 and 18h00 – “to prevent them from going anywhere or talking” to anyone.
The activists were planning to present delegates at the summit with a document calling for the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The document also demanded that SADC lay out in clear terms firm preconditions to ensure democratic elections in Zimbabwe that are without violence and intimidation, and in full compliance with SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
Lombardt said most of the Zimbabwean activists who came to Namibia last week had left the country over the weekend.