The three men were spotted emerging from the side door of the Embassy. They passed the Vigil before coming back to the front table, where they asked questions and requested a flyer which explains what we are about.
They read our petitions: one of them signed, but the other two declined. They then crossed the road when they noticed we were taking pictures of them. Two of the men were later photographed entering the Embassy.
Ironically, the photos were taken by Fungayi Mabhunu, who only this week received a chilling message from a contact in Harare, a musician who had gone to the police band at Morris Depot (next to State House) to get his alto sax tuned. He happened to ask them whether they knew Fungayi (a former member of the police band) and they said: ‘Yes, he’s the one who was on TV denouncing the head of state. We will get him’.
Fungayi, who has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, believes the reference was to his appearance on a BBC World television programme after the last elections. The message he got from our contact was ‘don’t come back’.
Here is the Shona text of the email: ‘Fungai haubatsire nekureba kwaNyazika nhunu vese vangaziva panaKenny here. Atleast daiwandiudza nechapapi coner nani, pakati here kana pamucheto. Iyo body yakauya here? Mafe akoeku polica band ndakatosvika pabasapavo ndichidaku chinusa Alto yangu, ndikanzi na Mudhara Knox Dhauya, Fungai ndomuziva mupfana wekumbare uyu akazenge obuda paTV achitaura zvisinabasa uyu. Akangouya kuno anomama tichadhila naye. Ndikati wakamakwa, ukadzoka kuno vanokusata. handinakuzombo taura kuti ndinokuzivirepi’.
Fungayi’s response to this threat is ‘I’ll never stop. I’m glad they are getting the message. We must continue exposing what the police are doing’.
The incident comes amid widespread criticism of the police. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights condemned them this week for their arbitrary actions in harassing officials from the Oxfam humanitarian organisation: ‘The contemptuous conduct of the police and the Department of Immigration officials portrays a government that is suffering from persecutory delusional disorder, which is typical of paranoid states,’ ZLHR said in a statement. It goes on to say: ‘ZLHR is extremely concerned at the unmistakable and extreme collusion between the police from the ZRP Law and Order Section and the Department of Immigration officials and their uncivilised conduct in harassing bona fide visitors, whose organisation’s interventions have sustained livelihoods, health and the less privileged people of Zimbabwe, which shows an unacceptable disregard for the rule of law in our country.’
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
FOR THE RECORD: 82 signed the register.Post published in: Africa News