Two members of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) have been arrested outside the Bulawayo High Court where they went to hand over a petition against the transfer of nine party members to Chikurubi and Gwanda prisons
Last week, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) transferred the nine MRP activists from Khami to the ‘notorious’ Chikurubi and Gwanda prisons.
The nine activists were convicted of public violence in June this year after they stormed Bulawayo Central Police station last year protesting what they termed was a botched abduction of party leader Mqondisi Moyo by state security agents.
Around 10 am a group of MRP members gathered outside the Bulawayo High Court to submit their petition.
Their petition was addressed to ZPCS Commissioner General – Moses Chikobvu, Zimbabwean President – Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General – Godwin Matanga and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube.
However, anti-riot police were dispatched to the High Court as well as the Large City Hall and Joshua Nkomo Statue.
As the MRP members crossed the street to approach the High Court, police swooped in on them.
Some MRP members fled but police caught Goiste Sindy Moyo who had a toddler strapped on her back and Lwazi Khanye, the party‘s national youth treasurer.
Despite their arrest, both Khanye and Moyo continued shouting that they were fighting for their rights, asking why their fellow members were moved to Chikurubi.
Khanye and Moyo were arrested on charges of inciting public violence.
In an interview with CITE, Chairperson of the MRP Youth League, Mudenda Chilumbo, who was leading the charge, said their agenda for the day was just to petition the Bulawayo High Court.
“We wanted to tell all the responsible authorities that we are unhappy about the transfer of our members from Khami to Chikurubi. But before we could submit our petition, the teargas trigger-happy ZRP arrested our members,” he said, vowing that police action would not deter them.
“They will not stop us. We will forge ahead until we get the justice we are demanding. If Emmerson Mnangagwa continues oppressing people in Matabeleland, it will never end well.”
Chilumbo expressed shock that police could even arrest a mother with a baby in front of the public.
“A child is not supposed to be arrested in front of the whole world watching because the mother is fighting for human rights. This is a violation of a certain section of the constitution,” he said and complained that they failed to submit their petition.
“We did not manage since they blocked us but we will soldier forward. We will devise another method politically that we are as yet to divulge in due course.
Another MRP member, Lydia Ncube, who was part of the petitioners said she was pained by Moyo’s arrest.
“The woman was fighting for the rights of people in Matabeleland, asking the authorities why take our fellow members to Chikurubi prison. One of our members who are now at Chikurubi sleeps with chains yet did not kill anyone. Their crime is asking for rights,” she said.
“We are hurt by the oppression that takes place in Matabeleland and the oppression from the government.”
Meanwhile, MRP leader, Mqondisi Moyo, said other party members managed to successfully deliver their petitions to the provincial affairs minister, ZPCS at Mhlahlandlela Government Officer, police to hand over to the justice minister and the president’s office to hand over to the president.