Activists in prison for Xmas

Dozens of activists will spend Christmas in remand prison as ZANU PF cracks down on both perceived opponents and others accused of insulting their leader.

The MDC-T legislator for Chimanimani West, Lynnette Karenyi, was on Monday arrested by police in Mutare for allegedly branding Robert Mugabe ‘a gay who sleeps around with (former information minister) Jonathan Moyo.’

On Tuesday state prosecutors used controversial legislation to suspend for 7 days the US$300 bail given to her by Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo. Even though the magistrate ruled that, “the state seeks to punish the accused before trial and before conviction” Karenyi will still spend Christmas in prison.

Seven MDC-T activists arrested in May as part of a larger group are still in custody nearly 8 months later. Glen View Ward 32 Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere, Rebecca Mafikeni, Phenias Nhatarikwa, Lazarus Maengahama, Stanford Maengahama, Yvonne Musarurwa and Stanford Mangwiro face what have been described as ‘trumped up’ charges of murdering a policeman.

In October the police arrested MDC-T Youth Assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore over the same charges. Since November his bail hearings have been postponed for more than 8 times. Police claim he was arrested while on the run despite video evidence proving he addressed several public MDC-T events. Christmas for Madzore will be at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

Meanwhile on Tuesday the MDC-T said the growing use of controversial legislation to suspend bail given to their members showed that the Attorney-General’s office continues to be used by ZANU PF for persecuting and not prosecuting MDC officials and supporters.

But slightly happier news from Makoni where two MDC-T members were arrested for “illegally distributing seed.” Councillor Charles Kawadza and Mike Masekesa of Ward 23 in Makoni South were arrested for distributing the presidential maize seed in the area on Sunday. They were both taken to and detained at Rusape Police Station. But Makoni South MP Pishai Muchauraya intervened, and they were set free.

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