Rights Activist Arrested In Zimbabwe

Harare, January 15, 2013  – Zimbabwe police arrested and charged a director of a human rights organisation for alleged election fraud on Monday, a lawyer for the accused said.

Beatrice Mtetwa said Zimrights director Okay Machisa had been charged for “scanning voter registration certificates with false names and misrepresenting that these people had been registered as voters”.

Zimbabwe police over the years have led a crackdown on non-governmental organisations seen as critical of President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Political tensions are running high in the country, which is preparing for elections this year.

The vote would end a four year coalition government led by rivals Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Police had already carried out a raid on the Zimrights offices in central Harare last month, detaining another official, Leo Chamahwinya, who faces the same charges.

Mtetwa said the police conducted another raid after Machisa’s arrest to look for evidence of any payments that had been made to the people he is alleged to have connived with.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change has called in the past for the police to stop harassing rights activists and their party supporters. – AFP