NGO Employees Spend Two Nights In Police Custody

Police detectives on Monday arrested Counselling Services Unit (CSU) representatives Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi, Tafadzwa Gesa, James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno in a sustained onslaught against Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)’s after raiding their offices in search of “offensive and subversive material” from the organisation’s offices in Harare.

Two of the CSU employees James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno were released from police custody late Monday evening together with Daily News photo-journalist Watson Ofumeli, while Mudimu, Godi and Gesa remained in police custody, where the police had not formally charged them by late Tuesday evening.

Police detectives told lawyers Dr Tarisai Mutangi, Tonderai Bhatasara, Rose Hanzi, Kennedy Masiye and Jeremiah Bamu from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who are representing the three CSU employees that they intend to, transfer them to Bulawayo on Wednesday morning, where they claim the offence which they intend to charge them for was committed.

In a statement, ZLHR said the police had indicated that the three CSU employees had damaged a bill board in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city.

“From their interactions with the police, lawyers have been advised that the CSU employees allegedly defaced a bill board and an information centre in Bulawayo,” ZLHR said in a statement Tuesday night.

During the raid, the police confiscated a computer, some files and other materials.

According to a search warrant, issued by Superintendent J. Murenje, the police officers who raided the CSU offices claimed that the organisation was in possession of material that “defaces any house, building, wall, fence, lamp post, gate, elevator without the consent of the owner or occupier thereof,” in contravention of Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.