Police Raid Zimrights Offices

The four detectives arrested Zimrights programme officer Leo Chamahwinya, whom they later locked up at Harare Central police without any formal charges.

Harare lawyer Trust Maanda, who spent the entire afternoon at the police station trying to secure the release of the Zimrights employee, was up in arms over the police action.

“Police were not cooperative. They failed to tell us why they took him although we suspect they took him on the basis of what they were alleging were fraudulent voter registrations that they say were taking place,” said Maanda.

“…You cannot just lock somebody without telling them their offence. Even when they took him in the morning they said they wanted him to be a witness in a case in which some woman was said to be registering voters unlawfully.”

It was however not clear if the arrest of the Zimrights employee was linked to the recent arrest of four Harare men who were found with an assortment of fake documents.

The documents included voter registration forms, passports, drivers’ licences, birth and death certificates among an assortment of fake documents.

Police allege there are some runners who were found registering prospective voters using some of the documents and claiming they were on the Zimrights payroll.

The raid on the Zimrights offices comes hardly a week after the organisation launched a document that revealed human rights defenders in Zimbabwe were still at the mercy of the state.

The document was authored after a team of experts from Zimbabwe and two foreign organisations had conducted a survey on the human rights situation in the country.