ZimRights boss granted bail

Okay Machisa was finally granted US$500 bail on Tuesday

By Violet Gonda
29 January 2013

The director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Okay Machisa, was finally granted US$500 bail on Tuesday by High Court judge justice Felistus Chatukuta, on condition he puts up an immovable asset worth no less than US$50,000 and surrenders his passport.

The human rights campaigner had been denied bail four times since his arrest on 14 January on charges of forgery, conspiracy to commit fraud, and publishing statements that are prejudicial to the State.

Irene Petras from Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human Rights said the bail conditions seemed harsh and difficult for a rights advocate to raise, but it is a positive development that the bail was finally allowed at last.

Petras told SW Radio Africa that Machisa is also expected to appear for a remand hearing in the magistrates’ court on Wednesday, “so we may have an indication then on how far the state is preparing its case and when a trial is likely to begin.”

Machisa’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, has dismissed the charges, arguing there was no evidence linking her client to the commission of an offence.

Machisa is greeted by his daughter

ZimRights deputy, Leo Chamahwinya, another member of Zimrights Dorcas Shereni, plus two others – who are not linked to the rights group – are still in police custody facing the same charges.

ZimRights has also been charged as an organization, in a case the police say is to do with an illegal voter registration exercise. The organization denies participating in any illegal activity.

ZimRights members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the organization has been involved in voter mobilization across the country, which is not illegal.

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4 Responsesto “ZimRights boss granted bail”

  1. wilbert_mukori says:

    How can anyone talk of free and fair elections in a country where someone can be arrested at the drop of hat ? MDC had the last five years to get the democratic reforms agreed in the GPA implemented and institutions like the Police and Judiciary restructured and, if necessary, some of the diedhard Mugabe loyalists replaced. Sadly this was not done.

    Still these reforms must be implemented, the new Copac constitution alone without the reforms will never ever stop the harassment of people like Machisa, etc. and deliver the free and fair elections we want. The only way Zimbabweans are ever going to get the reforms implemented is by rejecting this Copac constitution in the referendum! There is no other way.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      Talking of free and fair elections does not entitle anyone to register voters illegally as there is an organ in government tasked with this responsibility.

      Of course, Mugabe would have been the biggest fool which he is not if he had allowed the police and judiciary restructured and his loyalists replaced to please the MDC-T. Just forget about the reforms you always talk about because it was an agreement reached between three political figures at the exclusion of other political groups in the country. I for one does not care about the so-called reforms because as a libertarian my constituency was not involved in the negotiations that culminated in GPA. We can not be held to ransom by three political parties that had their own political arrangement which excluded us. So just forget about it and concentrate on the forthcoming elections.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        Without the reforms Mugabe will have the license to use all manner of tricks including stifling media (the cosmetic reforms of the last five years have failed to change) and Mugabe’s most trusted weapon of all violence to ensure victory. The people of Zimbabwe DO NOT want a repeat of 2008.
        PM Tsvangirai is lying about taking some unspecified “steps and
        benchmarks” at some unspecified point in time to implement the reform and thus ensure the elections are free and fair.

        If Zimbabweans knew this was a lie, they would vote NO in the referendum. This dysfunction GNU took five years to draft this Copac rubbish and now it is giving the people five weeks to decide on it. The GNU is steam rolling the people into voting yes to this rubbish. Many people will be voting without even seeing a copy of this Copac constitution.

        Still there are some of us who will do their best to ensure the people know the two most important thing they wanted in the constitution i.e. the guarantee to their right to life and right to free and fair elections are NOT in this Copac constitution. It is a lie that their voices are in! It is also a lie that MDC will do something to stop the violence.

        If the people know they are being lied to they will vote NO in the
        referendum. The people are ignorant but you are wrong to think they are stupid!

        You are a sycophant, always singing the praises of tyrannical master
        Mugabe, with some loot to protect and blood of innocent Zimbabweans on your hands. You are a sworn enemy of liberty; how then can you call yourself a libertarian?

  2. wilbert_mukori says:


    You were denying that MDC have ever said anything about reforms being necessary for free and fair elections, well here is something from the horse’s mouth!

    GONDA: So will you go to elections without reforms?

    TSVANGIRAI: No we can’t! We are saying there are steps and benchmarks that need to be put in place before that election is conducted, or else we’ll reproduce 2008.

    GONDA: At the end of the day, isn’t it a fact that reforms are not the problem here and those reforms will only remain on paper and not implemented even if you are to have the reforms.

    TSVANGIRAI: No, we have implemented some of them, not all, we have agreed on the Electoral Act, we have agreed on the Human Rights Act, we have put in commission, that’s all part of the reform that are comprehensively going to help create an environment for free and fair elections.

    Gonda should have followed this by asked Tsvangirai: Are you not putting the cart before the horse; approving the constitution before implementing the reform? Once the constitution is approved Mugabe will swing into full election gear; he will not be interested in implementing not even one more reform; what recourse will you have to force him back to the table?

    The Human Right Commission is the one Professor Austin resigned from out of sheer frustration because the commission was totally useless!

    None of the reforms carried out to date are worth talking about because none of them have made any difference. They have created more media Boards and Councils than one cares to count and yet the situation on the ground remains the same as before with Zanu PF retaining its monopoly of the media and the tiny private media is muzzled by oppressive laws!

    Tsvangirai will tell white lies, blue lies, name the colour and he will tell a lie in that colour; just to get Zimbabweans to believe this Copac rubbish will deliver free and fair elections and thus vote yes in the referendum. With the yes vote secured, Mugabe will kick Tsvangirai in the teeth just as he did as soon as Tsvangirai signed the GPA. I have no sympathy for Tsvangirai; the man is a lying idiot whose only thought is how to retain his seat on the gravy train. I feel sorry for the ordinary Zimbabweans who always end up paying dearly for Tsvangirai blunders.

    Still Zimbabweans would stupid to vote yes on the basis of some unspecified “step and benchmarks” Tsvangirai himself does not know when these mystery steps would be taken. This is the classic case of looking for a black cat in a black room that (cat) is not there!

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