Mutare, July 19, 2013 – Police have arrested Arnold Tsunga, the MDC-T aspiring parliamentary candidate for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency and a prominent human rights lawyer together with his campaign organisers after accusing them of embarking on an unlawful procession in the high density suburb.
Human rights lawyers Tinoziva Bere, a senior partner at Bere Brothers Legal Practitioners and Passmore Nyakureba of Maunga Maanda and Associates Legal Practitioners, who are all members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), are representing Tsunga and his campaign team. Tsunga and his supporters were first detained at Dangamvura Police before being moved to Mutare Central Police Station.
In Harare, police banned another human rights lawyer, Jacob Mafume, who is the aspiring legislator for Harare South constituency from holding a campaign rally at an open space in Southlea Park suburb on Saturday 20 July 2013.
In a letter dated Wednesday 17 July 2013 and addressed to Darren Burutu, Mafume’s election agent, Chief Superintendent B. Ncube, the Officer Commanding Police in Mbare District charged that the conveners of the campaign rally should first secure a letter from a person, who was given an offer letter for the area in which Southlea Park suburb is situated. Ncube said police cannot sanction the rally as there are probabilities of a clash with an unnamed person holding the offer letter for Southlea Park.
The police ban of the campaign rally prompted Mafume’s lawyers Tawanda Zhuwarara and Bellinda Chinowawa from ZLHR to file an ex-parte appeal at the Harare Magistrates (Civil) Court seeking to overturn the police interdict as the police acted unlawfully in prohibiting the campaign meeting.
In their application, the lawyers argued that the reason proffered by Chief Superintendent Ncube as the motive behind prohibiting the meeting is not permissible at law. The human rights lawyers further argued that there is no provision in the Public Order and Security Act which places an obligation on a convener of a political rally to obtain permission or authority from a person given an offer letter in the area that he intends to convene a meeting.