Dozens charged with public violence over shutdown protests

As ZLHR challenges internet blockade


Zimbabwe erupted in violent protest after the government doubled the price of petrol. EPA-EFE/Aaron Ufumeli


SEVERAL people have appeared in court in Zimbabwe after they were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) officers following anti-government protests held in the troubled southern African country over
the deteriorating political and economic crisis.

In Bulawayo, the first batch of five people, who were arrested by ZRP officers and charged with public
violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, appeared at Western
Commonage Magistrates Court on Tuesday 15 January 2019, where they were granted free bail.
On Wednesday 16 January 2019, lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) led by
Tanaka Muganyi, secured the release of six juveniles, who were arrested together with 24 people and
appeared at Western Commonage Magistrates Court facing charges of committing public violence.
At Tredgold Magistrates Court, 15 people appeared in court and were remanded in custody to Thursday 17
January 2019, where the court will make a determination on their bail application filed by their lawyers from
ZLHR while 15 people from Saucertown suburb will also appear in court answering to public violence


At Western Commonage Magistrates Court, Magistrate Lungile Ncube ordered ZRP officers to take
Dominic Maunze to be treated at United Bulawayo Hospitals after he was mauled by some dogs when law
enforcement agents arrested him.

In Harare, the first batch of people who include 60 Epworth residents represented by Nontokozo DubeTachiona, Kossam Ncube, Marufu Mandevere and Tinashe Mundawarara of ZLHR, appeared at Harare
Magistrates Courts on Wednesday 16 January 2019 after they were arrested on Monday 14 January 2019 and charged with public violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)

10 residents of Mabvuku high-density suburb represented by Godfrey Mupanga of ZLHR, pleaded not
guilty to charges of committing public violence when they appeared before Harare Magistrate Hosea
Mujaya after they were arrested on Monday 14 January 2019 while 13 residents of Hatcliffe high-density
suburb represented by Andrew Makoni and Alec Muchadehama of ZLHR also appeared at court for initial
remand proceedings.

ZRP officers also arrested pro-democracy campaigner Pastor Evan Mawarire on Wednesday 16 January
2019 and detained him at Harare Central Police Station after they charged him with incitement to commit
public violence as defined in section 187 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with
section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

At Pastor Mawarire’s residence, ZRP officers confiscated his laptop and his mobile phone handset after
searching his house.

In Masvingo province, ZRP officers arrested seven employees of Community Tolerance Reconciliation and
Development, a human rights organisation, at their offices and also arrested people in Jerera.
In Mashonaland Central province, ZRP officers arrested people in Mvurwi and Guruve districts while in
Mashonaland West province, the law enforcement agents arrested people in Kadoma and Magunje.
Meanwhile, ZLHR and Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter (Misa-Zimbabwe) on
Wednesday 16 January 2019 filed an urgent chamber application challenging the suspension of internet
services by service providers following a directive issued by the Minister of State for State Security in
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office.

In the application, ZLHR and Misa-Zimbabwe, represented by Denford Halimani of ZLHR, argued that the
internet blockade was a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights including access to information enshrined
in section 61 of the Constitution.

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