By Tichaona Sibanda
8 February 2013
Dorcas Hove, the ZimRights Highfields chapter chairperson, was on Friday granted bail by the High Court in Harare after spending almost two months in police custody.
The 42 year-old Hove and two other colleagues, Tanaka Chinaka and Farai Bhani, are accused of trying to discredit the country’s voters’ roll by manufacturing counterfeit copies of the certificate of registration as a voter. Hove, Chinaka and Bhani were arrested on the same day and only the Highfields chapter chairperson is out on bail. The duo’s bail application will be heard next week.
They are also facing charges of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State. Hove was released on $500 bail and told to report to the police once a week between 6am and 6pm.
ZimRights programs manager Leo Chamahwinya, who was arrested just days after the three, had his application for bail postponed to next week Tuesday. Chamahwinya is being accused of involvement in ‘illegal voter registration’. He was also charged with ‘conspiracy to commit fraud’.
There appears to be an increased police crackdown against pro-democracy activists, with greater numbers being arrested lately.
Observers fear this is a ZANU PF effort to crush legitimate voter exercise programs, ahead of crucial polls in a few months time.
Since late last year, dozens of human rights and pro-democracy activists have been picked up, including those trying to carry out voter education campaigns in rural areas. Some of the activists have been charged while others have been released without charge after days and weeks of questioning.