Paul Siwela wife hunted down by secret police

The wife of one of the jailed Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders, Paul Siwela, says she has been left traumatised after being hunted down by members of the Central Intelligence Department (CID) last week.

Paul Siwela is being held with two other MLF leaders, John Gazi and Charles Thomas, who were all arrested on 3rd March on treason charges, and face the death penalty if found guilty. The allegations are that they arranged an executive meeting in Bulawayo where they agreed to topple the government, as happened in the Egyptian-style uprisings.

They are also being accused of distributing pamphlets that urged members of the Zimbabwean army to defect and take up arms under a Republic of Mthwakazi state. The trio deny that they have committed treason and say the charges against them are trumped up. On Tuesday last week three CID officers reportedly appeared at the Siwela home in Bulawayo and demanded to see Mrs Enelsi Siwela. On finding she was not at home they went to look for her at her work place. Mrs Siwela meanwhile was tipped off that the CID were after her and decided to flee to her lawyers.

I was afraid, as my husband is already in prison, and I feared they would arrest me and my children would remain without a father or a mother, she said. The reason I went to the lawyers was I didnt want any trauma on my children. They are already traumatised with the father being absent. Even at night my children are not secure, said Mrs Siwela, who has five children.

She said after meeting her lawyers, they went to Bulawayo Central Police station, where she was questioned by a member of the CID. He asked me about our private properties, Mr Siwelas company and his political views, she explained, I said, look, Im just his wife, Ive got nothing to do with it and I dont know. On Monday there was a bail hearing for all 3 leaders of t MLF, after the state opposed their bail application at the High Court last week.

But the judge postponed making a decision in order to review submissions from both the state and lawyers representing the trio. It is hoped a decision will be made on Wednesday. The MLF leaders are being represented by their lawyers Lucas Nkomo, Sindiso Mazibisa and Matshobana Ncube.

The case of the MLF has reportedly caused a split in the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). Last week some members of the group formed a splinter legal rights group, following allegations that the ZLHR refused to represent the trio.

Five Bulawayo lawyers Nkomo, Mazibisa, Ncube, Robert Ndlovu and Kucaca Phulu went on to form the Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers Network. Abammeli reportedly has 40 lawyers, and said human rights defenders from the Matabeleland region were not being adequately represented.

But on Monday ZLHR said in a statement: As a professional law-based organisation with limited funding for litigation, ZLHR has strict standardised procedures for the take-up of cases by lawyers on its behalf. The organisation does not cover cases in which lawyers deploy themselves and then ask, or expect, ZLHR to cover their legal fees after the fact. We are reliably informed that the MLF accused are already represented by 5 lawyers of their own choice, as is their constitutional right, and we wish them the best of luck, the ZLHR statement read.

Meanwhile, on Monday it was reported that the treason case of Gwisai and the five other activists has been remanded until 20th April.

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