Tsvangirai Ordered Release Of Human Rights Director

svangirai is expected to officially open the photo exhibition that showcases grisly images from the violent June 27 2008 elections. The Movement of Democratic Change, which Tsvangirai leads, says an estimated 200 people were killed during the period, while hundreds others were displaced from their homes. Most perpetrators of the violence are still to be tried in court, despite some of them having been identified by the communities and MDC. This is also despite the fact that MDC long handed a dossier to the police that named most of the perpetrators.

The exhibition will show images of broken limbs, burnt buttocks and other gory photos of people maimed and attacked by soldiers and Zanu PF elections during the shammed presidential second round election.

President Robert Mugabe was the only contestant after Tsvangirai pulled out of the election citing unprecedented violence against supporters of his MDC party.

RadioVOP is reliably informed that police chiefs were concerned that the exhibition would “open old wounds”. The police chiefs were not happy with some of the photos on display, the sources said.

Tsvangirai is said to have instructed his co-minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa to ensure the release of Machisa. The sources said Tsvangirai told Mutsekwa to ensure the police returned the photos they confiscated and ensure that the exhibition goes ahead as planned on Wednesday.

The other Home Affairs minister is Zanu PF’s Kembo Mohadi.

Machisa was arrested on Tuesday at the Gallery Delta in central Harare, where some ZimRights officials were working on putting the pictures on the walls in preparation for the exhibition entitled “Reflections” scheduled for Wednesday.

Machisa was later released without charge.

Machisa last month told journalists in Harare that he had received threats on his life from an unidentified person who also threatened his colleagues Nunurai Jena, Netsai Kaitano and Jabulisa Tshuma.

On February 16, 2010 he received by email an anonymous message from a person identifying himself as Dzapasi Mumunda warning him to be careful with his work. The message said “Be careful my friend a number of people at my workplace have been assigned to bring you down. I refused to be involved. Be careful especially at your home”.

The message also warned to stay out of the country as his life was in danger. ZimRights later filed a police report under number IR 030 117.

Machisa also said in November last, several armed men waited at his home’s gate as he returned from a meeting. They left after he alerted the police and colleagues.

Jena the Regional Chairperson for Mashonaland West, Kaitano the  Regional Chairperson for Chitungwiza and Tshuma Zimrights Treasurer were also reported to have received threats from an as unidentified person who claimed to have links with the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The three received different anonymous messages on their cell phones ordering them to put an end to their work on the constitution making process and threatening them with death. The messages also asked them about their motives to work within the association. All the messages were sent from the same number which is now unreachable.

The message allegedly said: “You enjoy flying in and out of the country demonizing your country, why don’t you go and stay there? They monitor, soon you will all stay out”.

Zimrights carries out intensive civic education in the communities and campaigning on the right of people to be involved in the drafting of the new Constitution.

ZimRights and influential rights group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) petitioned the co-Home Affairs ministers early this month seeking some guarantees on the safety of Machisa and other threatened human rights defenders but had up to not got any response.