By Shingirai Vambe
Harare – The move by the police was not legal, they cannot do omnibus arrest, there is devolution, every organ should respect other organ, they operated outside the law, Harare Mayor, His worship Jacob Mafume said following the arrest of 21 Councillors.
The Special Anti-corruption Unity (SACU) yesterday besieged Town House in Harare and arrested 21 Councillors and 4 journalists who were covering the full council meeting.
The unity which is housed in the office of the President and cabinet was established to assist the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of corruption and to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the national mechanisms for the prevention and fight against corruption in accordance with the anti-corruption strategy.
Harare Mayor said they cannot use dragnet to arrest councils.
“What they are doing is demeaning constitutional organs, they are operating outside the law, will be talking to our parent ministry that we must have discency in the way we do things we cannot have a full council disrupted on a fishing expedition” Mafume said.
Takunda Mandura of Open Parly, Munshe Chokodza of 263 chat, herald reporter, Blessing Chidhakwa with student Journalist Rukudzo musari were amongst the arrested Councillors and were released after Media Institute For Southern Africa (MISA) deployed Lawyer, Chris Mhike to secure their release.
MISA has since released a statement according to Mhike and said “The police did not disclose any reason for their detention that the journalist had to endure for about 3 hours”
Mandura narrated the ordeal to this publication soon after their release and thanked MISA for coming to their rescue, though there was no charge against them.
In a movie style, the Harare City Deputy Mayor Luckson Makunguma who was chairing the meeting and Brian Matione, are said to have jumped through the window of the Town House, soon after the police stepped in the chambers while the 21 where released without any charge.
During an online meeting with Sapes Trust, former Amnesty International member, Tawanda Mutasah, who is currently studying International Affairs in Paris, said the setting up of SACU was unconstitutional its not contemplated under the Chapter 13 institutions of the constitution.
“There are a number of shot-comings on the access of information in regards to various corruption cases and operations by institutions such as Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission ( ZACC), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Judiciary”
Harare City Council legal team has confirmed to Post On Sunday that section 319 of the Urban Councils Act, makes the yesterday’s arrest a criminal offence.
Section 319 reads “Any person who, at a meeting of a council creates a disturbance or use insulting, abusive or obscene language or threaten, resist, hinders or obstruct a council or any Councillor or any person contractor employed by the council in the performance of anything which is or he, as may be, is empowered or required by or in terms of this act to do, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine”