Another MDC MP arrested, this time for playing anti Mugabe song
By Violet Gonda
31 July 2009
Another MDC legislator has been arrested for allegedly playing a song that denigrates Robert Mugabe, on his car radio. The MDC said in a statement that Stewart Garadhi, the MP for Chinhoyi, was driving from Harare to Chinhoyi on Friday morning when he was stopped by police officers ‘who accused him of playing the song - Nharembozha - saying it denigrated President Robert Mugabe.’ He is being held at Chinhoyi police provincial headquarters.
At the time of broadcast it was not clear how the police heard the song if the MP had been driving at the time. A commentator remarked: “Were they in the car, or do they have fantastically large ears that can hear a song from a distance? It sounds like a case of the long ear of the law!”
Several people including members of the general public have been arrested under the country’s harsh security laws for ‘making utterances likely to cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President and his Office.’
It’s reported ‘Nharembozha’ or Mobile Phone is a song on an MDC campaign CD. Newzimbabwe.com said: “One song on the CD which arguably makes reference to Mugabe says: Saddam (Hussein) is gone now and Bob is the only one left.” Last year four activists from the Youth Forum were arrested in Bikita for playing the same CD. Police said the music was likely to ‘provoke ZANU PF supporters.’
Meanwhile, there are at least 8 MDC MPs including a Deputy Minister who have been arrested and some of them convicted in recent weeks, following the formation of the inclusive government in February. Deputy Youth Minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu, who was arrested on Tuesday on allegations of stealing a cell phone, will remain in custody until August 13th, after the State opposed bail on Friday. Harare Magistrate Kudakwashe Njerambini had granted the MDC official and his personal assistant bail of US$50 each, but the State invoked a section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, to oppose bail.
The MDC has accused ZANU PF of trying to whittle down its parliamentary majority by arresting some of its members. Several MDC MPs are also appearing in court facing allegations of abusing a government farming inputs scheme. One of the MPs, Ernest Mudavanhu of Zaka North has since been convicted and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
But on Friday, another MDC MP Ransome Makamure (Gutu East) was acquitted of the corruption charges after a Harare Magistrate threw out evidence submitted by State witness Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba. Nyikayaramba was the Chairman of the farming logistics subcommittee.
The MDC statement said it was discovered during the trial that when they were given the agricultural inputs last year the Brigadier General only advised MPs from ZANU PF on how the inputs scheme worked. The Brigadier is said to have ‘threatened one of his subordinates, Major Mapuranga who was also a witness in the trial, for giving evidence that absolved Makamure of any wrongdoing.’ Furthermore, the army had told the court that Makamure had committed the offence in October, but had claimed they only started the input scheme and the guidelines of distribution in November of last year.