Scores of activists detained during Zimbabwe elections


Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) riot squad. Photo by REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bureau
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE’S chaotic election has lurched into further controversy with the arrest of about 40 employees of some civil society organisations (CSOs).

They are reportedly held incommunicado following their arrest on Wednesday in the capital, Harare.

The CSOs employees drawn from Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) detained at locations, which their legal representatives from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) say have not ascertained as they are allegedly being denied access to their clients by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers (ZRP).

Lawyers fear this may turn out to be an enforced disappearance as provisions of section 50 of the Constitution places an obligation on law enforcement agents particularly the Police Service to respect the rights of arrested and detained persons.

Alec Muchadehama, Kossam Ncube and Jeremiah Bamu, the barristers are concerned that their clients were being illegally detained as law enforcement agents should first conduct investigations before effecting any arrests after establishing a reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed.

The Zimbabwe constitution compels law enforcers to provide detainees with food, medication and other amenities as well as to treat them with dignity.

Voting was disorderly on Wednesday and continued to Thursday at many polls were voting was delayed because of the unavailability of ballot papers.

The setback was prevalent in the urban areas of Harare and Bulawayo, seen as strongholds of the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change, led by Nelson Chamisa.

Incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is seeking a second term. His Zimbabwe African National Union –Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) is accused of rigging elections and unleashing violence to remain in power since independence in 1980.

– CAJ News







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