This week alone, 15 party members including two Members of Parliament Maureen Kadeumanga and Gift Ostallos Siziba, Harare Deputy Mayor Kudzai Kadzombwere, Councilor Clayd Mashozhera and others include candidates and election agents.
Siziba was again re-arrested on Friday and charged with further counts, including the alleged taking down election posters for a double candidate in Pelandaba-Tshabalala when he was due to appear at a Bulawayo court.
The CCC, which holds 103 seats in Parliament and denied Zanu PF a two-thirds majority, stated that the arrests of opposition members simply add to or contribute to existing and concerning issues regarding the disputed election.
“This ongoing persecution, specifically targeting our party members, only serves to deepen the already troubling concerns surrounding the election: its disorganised nature, the illegality, the rigging, and the overall chaos it has caused,” said the party in a statement.
“Kadeumanga, Siziba, Kadzombe, five members from Chirumanzi (#Chirumanzi5), three members from Seke (#Seke3) and numerous other members of our party are innocent individuals who are being unjustly persecuted by the Harare regime solely because of their affiliation with CCC. We demand an end to the targeted persecution of innocent citizens.”
In an interview with CITE, CCC official, Swithern Chirowodza said this persecution of members demonstrated that Zimbabwe’s democracy was backsliding.
“Democracy as a whole is regressing. Talk of electoral democracy where the elections were poorly organised, there was no transparency but voter suppression and rigging. The democracy of those elected and represented is also under siege and under threat,” he warned, blaming the Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration.
“What is happening now with these arrests soon after the worrying election vindicates the opinion some of us have always had on Mnangagwa. He uses state apparatus to violate the rights of Zimbabwean citizens.”
Chirowodza said Job Sikhala, the arrested Chitungwiza legislator, whose term even ended while he was incarcerated was today’s Lookout Masuku, who in 1982 died in detention on alleged trumped-up charges for attempting to overthrow the government at that time.
“Sikhala has spent 458 days in prison. We have a situation of persecution by prosecution,” he said.
Chirowodza went on to say that the Zanu PF regime used its different state organs to harm persons it deemed threats and such tactics were its modus operandi.
In 1982, Masuku was arrested together with Dumiso Dabengwa for allegedly wanting to overthrow the late Robert Mugabe’s government, who then was Prime Minister.
Even though the High Court cleared them of the charges, the Zanu PF government arrested them immediately after they left the court.
Chiworodza said it was puzzling how police officers were quick to arrest members of the opposition but ‘slow’ to act on robbery suspects.
“Law enforcement agencies are rarely seen in copper wire theft incidents or murder cases where body parts are ripped from victims. However, when Zanu PF feels like fixing CCC members, law enforcement agencies avail themselves in insatiable numbers. What a travesty!” decried Chirowodza.
“A change of government is the answer.”