from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – A ZIMBABWEAN magistrate has freed on bail a man arrested for allegedly jeering police officers during a recent operation to rid the capital, Harare, of street vendors.
Makomborero Haruzivishe, who is a pro-democracy campaigner, has secured bail to the tune of $200 (R3 000) when he appeared before Harare magistrate Wongai Muchuchuti on charges of inciting public violence and resisting arrest.
He has been charged under the cumbersome Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act used by authorities to suppress dissent.
Prosecutors alleged Haruzivishe incited some vendors to commit public violence by whistling at them when some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers were on an operation to round up informal traders in Harare’s central business district (CBD) last Wednesday
Haruzivishe, the prosecutors charged, also resisted arrest by some police officers who wanted to apprehend him.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is representing him.
Haruzivishe returns to court on Wednesday, where his trial is scheduled to commence.
Zimbabwean vendors have engaged in running battles with police in recent times.
A surge has been noted in informal trade in the capital city, a development attributed to rising joblessness in a struggling economy.
Authorities allege informal trade has resulted in an escalation of petty crime and the emergence of so-called black market traders worsening the country’s financial crisis.
In October, a vendor died while in police custody in Harare after he was allegedly denied medical treatment.
The government of President Emmerson Mngangwa is under severe pressure to revive the ailing economy.
– CAJ News