One arrest after police raid on ZimRights


Five police members stormed the offices of ZimRights and arrested Leo Chamahwinya

By Alex Bell
13 December 2012

An official from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) is set to spend a night behind bars on Thursday, after he was arrested during a police raid on the group’s office in Harare.

Five police members stormed the offices and arrested Leo Chamahwinya, the ZimRights Education and Programmes Manager. He stands accused of allegedly conducting illegal voter registration, but no charges have been filed.

One of the Chamahwinya’s lawyers, Tarisai Mutangi, told SW Radio Africa that his client is still being held at Harare Central Police station and will likely stay there overnight. He added that investigations into the allegations are still underway and charges will only be filed later.

It is understood that Chamahwinya’s arrest is part of a police operation that has been targeting other ZimRights structures, involved in pre-election education. At least two other officials from other parts of the country are said to have been arrested in recent days.

Phillip Pasirayi, an activist from the Centre for Community Development, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the raid on the ZimRights offices is part of a “massive crackdown” on the NGO community in Zimbabwe.

“It is not surprising because ZANU PF is in panic mode and the arrests are in line with ZANU PF’s resolutions made at their people’s conference. They are targeting NGOs because of their access to communities and the education they are conducting about democracy and human rights,” Pasirayi said.

He added that groups like ZimRights are vocal and critical “and they will be targeted ahead of elections.”

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4 Responsesto “One arrest after police raid on ZimRights”

  1. Tora Bora says:

    Gestapo Keystone Gukurahundi police force.

  2. wilbert_mukori says:

    There are some human rights organizations and private individuals who
    have again and again turned a blind eye to human rights violations by Mugabe
    and his Zanu PF thugs to appease the dictator. Then there political parties
    like the two MDC factions who have made political appeasement of the tyrant
    their core business – how else can one explain why they have failed to get even
    one democratic reform implemented all these last four years!

    Appeasing Mugabe has not forced him to stop his brutal oppression of the
    people. No tyrant is history has ever given up his tyrannical powers because he
    felt sorry for his victims – tyrants have heartless brutes!

    But after read stories like this one day in day out, week after week of the regime continues to ride rough shod over defenseless citizens, one can only hopes these stories will force the appeasers to finally see their folly of their policy of appeasement.

    The only way to stop these tragic stories of human rights violations is for people to stop appeasing dictators and demand without compromises the rule of law and the restoration of all basic and fundamental rights of the citizens. At present the line in the sand behind which the nation should speak with one voice is the call for new truly democratic constitution, robust enough to get those responsible for human rights violations finally arrested and punished.

    The Copac draft constitution now under consideration is too feeble and weak to stop the country’s culture of violence. MDC tells the nation it offers “incremental
    changes”; the language of appeasement. People must now unit behind the NO
    vote in the upcoming referendum because that is the only way the nation is
    going to get a robust democratic constitution the nation need to end this
    oppressive dictatorship.

    • GBZ says:

      Hey Wilbert, while I agree with a lot of what you say, I do believe that a NO vote is going to play into the hands of the enemy zanupf. The good thing is that they,the enemy see meekness for weakness which is going to bury them in the end, and once they are buried we can revisit the constitution and rewrite it based on democratic principles to protect the meek and humble people of our country, not the arrogant hateful and evil. It is hard to trust anyone in leadership today with the “weapon of mass corruption” that is destroying us but we need to pull together in this next election to rid ourselves of this self appointed demigod of zimbabwe. We need to pull under one banner for now to get this bunch of hasbeens out so we can all live in relative peace and see that the corrupt get their rightfull demise.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        I wish I could believe you and many others out there who think that regardless what Mugabe and Zanu PF throw at the nation, Mugabe and Zanu PF will lose the coming elections. So confident are you lot that you have dared Mugabe to have his usual vote rigging machinations; the one sided public media and muzzled private media, the chaotic voters roll, have full war chest of cash to fund his terror machine from the money looted from the Marange Diamonds, a new Copac constitution so feeble and weak Mugabe will do as he please, etc. and last but most important of all allowed him deploy his party thugs aided and abetted by the Police, Army and CIO to unleash the same orgy of violence comparable to that the dictatorship unleashed in 2008 or worse. With all that, you are still confident Mugabe and Zanu PF will be defeated in the elections.
        I beg to differ for four reasons:

        1) One should never underestimate an adversary and PM Tsvangirai and his MDC friends and their supporter have done just that to the extent of becoming complacent and arrogant. PM Tsvangirai should have worked hard to get all the democratic reforms implemented and to ensure the new constitution was democratic, etc.

        2) Whilst it is true that Mugabe and Zanu PF have lost the trust of the overwhelming majority of the people of Zimbabwe and therefore would have no chance of winning free and fair elections. The tyrant and his cronies know that better than anyone which is why they have no intention of holding free and fair elections; they offer no carrot to the electorate but a whip and have elected a heartless brute who has earned a reputation of cracking the whip without mercy to lead them.

        In the March 2008 vote the electorate voted for Tsvangirai in droves but after three months in which the dictatorship cracked the whip, everyone very quickly fell into line and voted for Mugabe without further ado. It is all very well to defiantly say “My vote is my secrete!” now but looking up the business end of murderous thug’s gun the bravado will disappear like morning mist in the African dawn.

        3) Even if by chance Mugabe and Zanu PF do indeed lose the elections in spite of all their political machinations, intrigue and brutality one has to question why it was deemed necessary to
        follow this torturous path to electoral victory when a safer alternative offered itself.

        We should all be wary of Generals who view the foot-soldiers as nothing more than cannon fodder!

        4) The fourth reason is that if Mugabe and Zanu PF should “win” then you people will have no grounds to complain. You knew all along Mugabe is playing with a loaded dice; you ignored the warnings of those offering to help but still went on to play. Well if you lose, then surely you must pay the price of your arrogance
        and folly and expect no sympathy from no one!

        According to a leaked cable, in 2002 the then US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Chris Dell found Tsvangirai to be “a flawed and indecisive character “ after meeting the MDC leader two or three occasions. After ten year of blundering, his failure to get the reforms implemented being one of the many blunders, Tsvangirai has proven Ambassador Dell right . Tsvangirai has clearly decided to take part in an electoral process in which there is already overwhelming evidence is not free and fair.

        It is sheer folly on the nation’s part to follow where Tsvangirai is leading them.

        By voting NO in the upcoming referendum the nation will assert their demands to have all the reforms implemented and a democratic
        constitution written and thus have all the guarantees and safe guards not only that the next elections but all future elections are free and fair! We have waited for 33 years to exercise the right to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country, for that is the essence of “One man! One vote!” , it is now up to us to secure that right for ourselves and posterity. A NO vote to the Copac rubbish will secure free and fair elections for all for all time!