ZimRights was expected to launch its photo exhibition titled “Reflections” at Wits University in Johannesburg on Monday.
“ZimRights was unable to continue with the exhibition in Zimbabwe after police in Masvingo seized the pictures and have refused to release them,” said Cynthia Manjoro, the ZimRights spokesperson.
Police interfered with the launch of the photo exhibition in Harare showing pictures of victims of rights abuses carried in 2007. The launch proceeded after the intervention of lawyers from rights group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
But in Masvingo the police banned the exhibition and arrested some ZimRights officials including Joel Hita, the organisation’s regional chairperson for organizing the exhibition without police clearance.
Attorney General Johannes Tomana has since given Masvingo prosecutors authority to prosecute Hita. Hita was arrested in April and charged with “holding a public meeting without notifying the authorities.”
The prosecution of Hita comes hardly a fortnight after Tomana authorised the prosecution of Gukurahundi visual artist Owen Maseko.
Maseko will stand trial in August for allegedly undermining the authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe.
Maseko was arrested in March under the country’s security laws for staging an exhibition in Bulawayo about the 1980’s Matabeleland massacres carried out by troops loyal to President Robert Mugabe’s previous government.
Besides Maseko several legislators among them Douglas Mwonzora, Pishai Muchauraya, Eliah Jembere and Senator Morgan Komichi have been dragged to court to answer charges of undermining or insulting President Mugabe.