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ZCP condemns govt crackdown on civil society activists

The Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP), has called for the release of four civil society activists who were arrested upon arrival at the Harare International Airport on Monday on allegations of plotting to overthrow the government.

ZCP Secretary General, Nicholas Ngqabutho Mabhena, said what the state security forces had done disgraces Zimbabwe since the four were coming from an international meeting of civil society organisations held in the Prague, Czech Republic.

The four who were arrested are Tatenda Mombeyarara (37) coordinator for lobby group Citizens Manifesto, George Makoni (38) advocacy officer for the NGO Centre for Community Development Zimbabwe, Gamuchirai Mukura (31) executive director of Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development and Frank Nyasha Mpahlo (35) the governance officer at Transparency International Zimbabwe.

The quartet has since been charged with subverting a constitutional government and were expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

Mabhena said this arrest was ‘clearly’ an attack on those fighting for the rights of the oppressed people of Zimbabwe.

“The charge that they were organising the violent overthrow of the Zimbabwe government exposes the foolishness of the so-called Central Intelligence Organisation. The CIO is aware of the organisation of violence, when it occurs, does not take place at such international gatherings,” he told CITE.

“We must wonder who they are trying to convince. They know they are lying and we know they are lying. What the state security forces have done disgraces Zimbabwe and in itself can be regarded as an act of treason as it directly contradicts the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, a democratic Constitution voted for by the overwhelming majority of the Zimbabwean people in 2013.”

The general secretary claimed this arrest was not an isolated incident as there were other incidences before that, which were an attack on.

“ZCP National Political Commissar Ian Beddowes was accused – in a Zanu PF publication “The Patriot” of giving militant training to Mthwakazi youth – yet his opposition to separatism is very well known.

“Then on April 27 2019, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Secretary-General Robson Chere, together with three other teachers, Jess Drury, Precious Ndlovu and Munyaradzi Ndawanawere were abducted from a private house in Greystone Park, Harare. They were holding a political education meeting for teachers based on the well-known book by Brazilian educationist Paulo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” he referenced.

Mabhena continued: “Four men in plain clothes without an arrest warrant broke into the house after which they were then taken to Harare Central Police Station where they were charged under Section 37 of the Criminal Code, ‘Participating in a meeting which promotes violence or bigotry.’”

ARTUZ lawyer, Doug Coltart, was also summoned to the police station the following day on April 28, 2019, to face similar charges.

“On April 26, Mackswell Basiyavo, Secretary for Legal Affairs in ARTUZ was abducted and tortured. ARTUZ played an important role in the formation of the Guruve Residents’ Association in Mashonaland Central. He was kidnapped by men carrying an AK-47 at Shamwari Filling Station, taken to a secret place and tortured for some hours for exposing land fraud,” said the communist leader.

Mabhena highlighted that from these examples, it was clear a new movement was growing among the people of Zimbabwe which rejects the neo-liberal, pro-imperialist and anti-poor policies of Zanu PF and MDC.

“Zanu PF, at present begging to join the British Commonwealth, cannot characterise the growing peoples’ movement as ‘pro-imperialist’ as – correctly – it has been able to do with the MDC. We are opposed to sanctions imposed by the US and Britain, which are countries that gave us Mugabe and ESAP. The black Rhodesian élite now have to invent reasons to arrest us,” he alleged.

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