Arrests and detentions on Referendum day

The Forum’s member ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has today continued to be actively involved in following the referendum day events and providing related legal support services.

On Saturday 16 March 2013, ZLHR lawyers provided legal assistance to several people who were arrested and subsequently detained as they exercised or attempted to exercise their right to vote during the referendum.

In Mashonaland West province, four Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) members including Nomatter Makwasha, Vincent Mpofu, and William Zvavahera were arrested in Kariba and detained at Mahombekombe police station on allegations of pasting “Vote YES” campaign posters close to a polling station. The police are reportedly looking for George Masendu in connection with the same offence. ZLHR member Tapiwa Muchineripi is attending to the detainees.

In Harare, Makario Chinongwa, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association assistant advocacy officer and Tariro Mhende, the personal assistant to Director Okay Machisa, were arrested for allegedly taking pictures at a polling station at Eastridge Primary School. The two were taken to the Law and Order section at Harare Central police station. Chinongwa was detained while Mhende was released after she was forced to pay an admission of guilt fine to secure her liberty. ZLHR member lawyer, Tonderai Bhatasara continues to work towards Chinongwa’s release.

Chipo Zuze of the Election Resource Centre was arrested and detained at Glen View South police station for allegedly asking to see the election results at a polling station. ZLHR member Tarisai Mutangi will return to the police station tomorrow to continue with the matter.

In Masvingo’s Rujeko suburb, Tapiwa Renias Winslow was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in a public place after he questioned the presence of some police officers in a polling station whilst he was attempting to cast his vote. Winslow, who was assaulted while in police detention, remains detained at Masvingo Central police station. Crispen Masenda was also arrested in Masvingo on allegations of pasting campaign posters close to a polling station. ZLHR member lawyer, Collen Maboke is intervening in the matter.

Christopher Chirigise of Shamva in Mashonaland Central province, was arrested at Mushambanyama, ward 20 and detained at Shamva police station for wearing a “Vote Yes” t-shirt inside his shirt. ZLHR member Ernest Jena is working towards Chirigise’s release.

In Manicaland province, Samson Magumura, the MDC-T Headlands District Secretary, was arrested and is currently detained at Nyazura police station. ZLHR member Leonard Chigadza is attending but has yet to be granted access to his client.

ZLHR will provide further updates on these, and any other cases, on Sunday 17 March 2013.

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