By Professor Matodzi
HARARE, November 12, 2015 – Zimbabwean authorities on Thursday intensified their blitz on media practitioners by arresting Andrison Manyere, a freelance journalist, who was covering an anti-government protest.
Manyere, a freelance photo-journalist was arrested while covering a protest staged in the capital by MDC-T youths who demonstrated against the reluctance by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to embrace and implement electoral and democratic reforms in the southern African country, whose elections have been marred by allegations of vote-rigging.
Upon arrest, Manyere was hauled into a truck before he was taken to a police post at Parliament building. He was later taken to Harare Central Police Station where his lawyer Gift Mtisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights engaged police in trying to seek his release as he was apprehended while executing his professional duties.
The MDC-T party, which accuses the ruling Zanu PF party officials of rigging elections recently announced that its supporters would roll out a number of demonstrations in protest over President Robert Mugabe’s failure to address the country’s worsening economic and political crisis.
Besides demanding electoral reforms, the MDC-T youths also protested against rising incidences of political violence where the opposition party’s supporters have been on the receiving end from some Zanu PF supporters who disrupted the staging of their rallies in Harare and Mashonaland West provinces.
The arrest of Manyere comes barely a month after Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe criticised journalists for their reports on the ongoing factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF party. Last week, police also arrested four journalists from the state-run Sunday Mail and Herald newspaper while in Rusape, they also detained and quizzed three freelance journalists outside a courtroom.
Zimbabwe has on several years ranked poorly on press freedom indices owing to President Robert Mugabe’s administration’s totalitarian tendencies which have seen dozens of journalists being harassed, arrested, prosecuted, jailed and even being disappeared.