17 March 2013
A top lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, is being held by Harare police after she reacted to early morning raids leading to the arrest of Thabani Mpofu, Principal Director in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office, a day after Zimbabweans voted in a constitutional referendum.
Thabani Mpofu, the Principal Director for Research and Development in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, was taken from his home at 6am.
The police, led by Inspector Mirimbo from Law and Order Harare Central, later raided the Prime Minister’s office in Bath Road in Belgravia, leading to the arrest of feisty human rights lawyer. The police, who did not have a search warrant, are said to have been looking for shortwave radios.
Mtetwa is being detained at the Harare Central Police Station together with three more MDC-T officials, Anna Muzvidziwa, Felix Matsinde and Worship Dumba who were also arrested early this morning.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba has denied Mtetwa’s arrest is politically motivated.
During a media briefing at the police head quarters Charamba said Beatrice Mtetwa went beyond her legal mandate and shouted at police officers investigating at a crime scene.vResponding to questions whether the arrests were politically motivated she said: “Where actually an offence has been committed it is not the police that commit the offence. Police in this case have responded because the law has been contravened, so there is no way it can be politically motivated persecution whatever you call it.”
“Police are actually responding to credible information about offences that have been committed, so if people commit offences and then they start talk about persecution then it’s something else,” Charamba said.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Jeremiah Bhamu castigated the police for carrying out the arrest at a time when Zimbabwe is waiting for the referendum results. “My point is the timing itself was not the correct time to do so, right now the focus was on the referendum on how free and fair it could be, they could have waited until the referendum results are out,” Bhamu said.