By Shingirai Vambe
Harare- Security and law enforcement agents are disregarding the Covid-19 regulations as prescribed by the government yet they are arresting people for violating the same policy, human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said.
Following the arrest of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance) leadership Friday afternoon in Harare, on their initial appearance, Mtetwa told the Court that her clients were exposed to the deadly coronavirus diseases.
Zimbabwe Human Rights spokesperson, Kumbirai Mafunda confirmed to Post On Sunday that the MDC A leadership was asked to walk bare footed in one cell thus breaching the social distancing regulations.
This came up following some Covid-19 positive cases were reported first in Bulawayo when one returnee was arrested for violating Covid-19 rules and other new cases which are coming through from other prisons around the country.
“While my clients are being arrested for criminal nuisance and violating Covid-19 regulations, may I submit before this Honourable Court that they were asked to walk bare footed in one cell which we are not sure if it was disinfected” said Mtetwa.
The Magistrate also charged the police for disregarding the Court rules by bringing the accused members after 2PM when court works half day during weekends.
“The accused MDC leadership initially went to court in the morning, brought back to the police station in the afternoon after there were some alterations and new charges to their case, and appeared before the Magistrate around 3PM” Mafunda said.
It is however a recurring situation that the prosecutors and police make some alterations and changes before one appears in court and this publication is yet to receive comments from the Prosecutor General, Kumbirai Hwodzi on why in many cases this happens.
The MDC team was arrested upon attempting to gain access into their rented building, MRT House in Harare, Friday afternoon; amongst the leaders were vice presidents Tendai Biti and Lynnette Karenyi Kore and four others.
Reason for arrest according to form 242 and state papers, was gathering in Harare, at MRT house with more than the required number of not more than 50 people at any gathering thus violating Covid-19 regulations and that of criminal nuisance.
Mafunda told Post On Sunday that “numbers don’t lie, the video has circulated and many saw it how many people had gathered at their office, however it is for the court to judge on the number of arrested individuals who made their appearance at Magistrates Court.”
The six were granted ZWL $1000 bail each, not to interfere with state witnesses, to return to court on July 22 2020 and the matter was presided over by Magistrate Glenda Makwande.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) has denied any participation in MDC political fights of Thokozani Khupe and team gaining access to MRT House, despite the video that circulated on social media which the house MDC A secretary general Chalton Hwende is heard saying they were soldiers inside the house and beating up MDC A security personnel.