The activists, who include Munyaradzi Gwisai, a former MDC member of parliament for Highfields, were arrested in Harare last year, after they dared to show and discuss a film of the Egyptian Uprising.
They were initially charged with treason, but that was later reduced to inciting public violence with an alternative charge of conspiracy to commit public violence. SAMWU, an affiliate of the umbrella Congress of South African Trade Unions, said this week that Harare was “behaving in a hysterical and irrational manner.”
“In other words, if you watch a film about the events in Egypt, you must be preparing to organise a violent uprising in Harare! On this reasoning, thousands of those who tuned into Al Jazeera during the North African turmoil are guilty too!” said SAMWU spokesman, Tahir Sema.
“Logic and reason are not being applied in this court by the State. Instead it is deploying the worst forms of guilt by association and conspiracy mongering to stifle any opposition to rule by Zanu-PF.”
SAMWU said the State was desperate to close down any avenue for discussion in the build-up to the up-coming elections that might allow important questions to be raised about the illegal human rights abuses of Zanu-PF, the state of corruption and patronage at work in the country and the continuing poverty experienced by the masses.
“This is the real agenda. Speak out and you can expect to be punished and sent to prison.”
The union urged pro-democracy forces, including members of SA’s ruling ANC and civil society across the region to be ready to defend the six socialists currently in court “if the outrageous and unjust convictions materialise.”
“We must all be ready to send a message to the Zimbabwean Government that intolerance of this type is not acceptable and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We sincerely hope that the MDC in Government will publicly disassociate itself from this travesty of justice, and along with civil society demand that the charges be dropped and those who have been victimised and vilified be properly compensated and given an official apology. Failure to do so will make everyone less secure in Zimbabwe.
“The right to meet, discuss events in the world, share ideas and speak openly and freely is not a luxury reserved for a small political elite, but a fundamental human right that must be enjoyed by all.”Post published in: Africa News