Arbitrary arrests must stop

On Monday this week a Harare magistrate removed prominent lawyer Alex Muchadehama from remand. It was quite clear to the magistrate that the lawyer had not committed any offence.

This comes on the heels of the acquittal of another prominent lawyer, now minister of constitutional affairs, Eric Matinenga. He had spent weeks in a filthy and congested cell in Buhera and Rusape.

Magistrates, prosecutors and a court clerk have also spent time behind bars recently not accused of any criminal activity, not charged with corruption or any other offence. Their crime? – doing their job properly.

These lawyers join countless other Zimbabweans who have been unjustly locked up in the most inhuman conditions, in a prison system that the Zanu (PF) minister of justice himself has admitted is broke and responsible for the death of hundreds of prisoners through malnutrition and preventable diseases.

It is appalling that the police continue to be used a political tool of Zanu (PF) in this manner arresting people willy-nilly on the orders of senior politicians and self-confessed Zanu (PF) officials in police uniform at police HQ.

It is nonsense for the police to make a song and dance about launching a police service charter. What is needed is a change of behaviour from the top downwards. The people of Zimbabwe want action not fancy documents stuck to police station walls. For as long as innocent individuals continue to be arrested and thrown into prison simply for doing their jobs or engaging in legitimate political activities, the police force remains a wing of Zanu (PF) and nothing else.

While the police are busy arresting innocent civilians, they demonstrate their bias by turning a blind eye to on-going political violence perpetrated by Zanu (PF) supporters. Not only are there more than 200 political murder cases unresolved, where the murderers are known and walking free, but Zanu supporters continue to rampage with immunity through communities known to support the MDC.

If the police force generally is serious about reforming itself through the re-launch of its charter, we urge them to start obeying the law themselves. It is time for them to do their job properly. That is the only way they are going to earn the respect of the people of Zimbabwean once again.


Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints!

For the LORD preserves the faithful,

And fully repays the proud person.

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart,

All you who hope in the LORD. – Ps. 31 vs. 23, 24 (NKJV)

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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