The MDC calls for an end to persecution of human rights defenders

The MDC calls for an immediate end to the continued persecution and arrests of journalists and civic society members across the country by State security agents.

This follows today’s arrest of Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) Director Andrew Moyse at his Milton Park offices in Harare. On Sunday, three officials from MMPZ – Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert Mabusa were arrested in Gwanda for facilitating a civic education meeting in the town last month. They are still in police custody.

They are being charged under the repressive Public Order and Security Act (POSA), an Act which should be repealed.

The MDC expresses revulsion over the continued arrests, detention and persecution of journalists at a time when the country is supposed to be working hard to open up space for freedom of expression, assembly and communication.

The MDC once again urges the police to be professional and not to be abused by any political party. It is sad to note that the arrests of the four MMPZ officials follow that of four other journalists who have recently been arrested on the instructions of Zanu PF officials.

The Daily News editor, Stanley Gama and reporter Xolisani Ncube were arrested last week on the instructions of Zanu PF’s Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo. They were charged with criminal defamation after exposing Chombo’s ill-gotten wealth.

Last month, Nevanji Madanhire, the editor of The Standard and reporter Nqaba Matshazi were arrested after reporting that a medical aid owned by a Zanu PF sympathiser was collapsing.

As a party, the MDC is worried that any opinions, analysis, news reports or meetings that are not pro Zanu PF suddenly become matters of interest to the police and innocent people are arrested.

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