Local human rights activists and civic society groups have threatened to protest at the Harare Magistrates Courts today against pro-democracy campaigner Makomborero Haruziviishe’s conviction.
Last week Harare magistrate Judith Taruvinga convicted Haruziviishe (29), an executive member of the MDC Alliance, on charges of inciting public violence and resisting police arrest.
Rights defenders expressed worry over Haruziviishe’s conviction, arguing that the pro-democracy campaigner was a victim of the weaponisation of the law by the government. Political activist Promise Mkwananzi tweeted:
Tomorrow (today) the regime has to free @MakomboreroH or face something it has never faced or imagined facing before. The choice is the regime’s.
Activist Namatai Kwekweza said failure to protest against Haruziviishe’s possible incarceration would mean that other activists would suffer the same fate in future.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Munyaradzi Gwisai on Monday said Haruziviishe’s conviction was the beginning of a worrying trend of persecution of anti-government critics. Said Gwisai:
The possible sentence is a fine of up to level 12 or 10 years imprisonment is serious and severe.
However, what is surprising is that there was no damage to property or to the police, but the court, however, decided to convict him under those circumstances.
Haruziviishe is accused of whistling to incite vendors to revolt against police brutality on 5 February 2020 at the corner of First Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare.