Suspected Zanu-PF Supporters Harass Lawyers

The suspected Zanu-PF supporters numbering about 40, blocked Charles Kwaramba and Obey Shava of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners from leaving Mbare Magistrates Court after they assumed
representing Mbare residents, Lionel Grezha and Ngoni Shanya, who appeared in court on Monday 31 October before Magistrate Brighton Pabwe.

The two human rights lawyers successfully sought for a postponement of the duo’s trial to 8 November 2011 from Monday 31 October 2011 to allow them to take instructions from their clients and properly
represent them as they had just assumed representing them from other lawyers.

The rowdy suspected Zanu-PF supporters who were following the case in court parked their truck and camped outside the exit point at Mbare Magistrates Court where they blocked the lawyers from leaving court.

They threatened to inflict damage on the lawyers’ vehicle and assault them if they attempt to leave forcing them to retreat into the court building where they were “detained” for almost two hours.

Kwaramba and Shava informed Magistrate Pabwe of the security threat posed by the Zanu-PF supporters and the Magistrate advised them to liaise with the officer in charge at the police post located at the
court.

The lawyers, who made a report at Mbare Police Station only stealthily escaped after spending two hours while holed up in the court building by using another exit point, which was not spotted by the boisterous
Zanu-PF supporters.

The detention of the lawyers follows the recent harassment of three human rights lawyers employed by ZLHR, who first represented the two Mbare residents last week.

On Monday, October 24, 2011, the Zanu-PF youths, who were led by Jim Kunaka, the party’s Harare province youth chairperson ambushed Belinda Chinowawa and her co-counsel, Jeremiah Bamu and Kennedy Masiye all of
ZLHR as they left the court room and interrogated them for being “unpatriotic”, by representing the two Mbare residents, who were accused of committing sodomy, against President Robert Mugabe’s
pronouncements castigating the practice.

At first Chinowawa, Bamu and Masiye tried to explain to the Zanu-PF mob that as lawyers it was their function and duty to represent anyone who sought their services. But this only served to further incense the
youths as they began hurling profanities and threatened to assault the lawyers.

Kunaka blocked the lawyers as they attempted to drive away from the court and launched a tirade against them and threatened to stone their car if they defied him by continuing to drive.

The Zanu-PF youth leader had  threatened the lawyers with violence should they dare to return to court last Tuesday for the delivery of the ruling of a bail application which they had filed for their
clients before recording the registration numbers of their vehicles.