Gwisai arrested for ‘plotting an Egypt’

Former Highfield MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 other social and human rights activists were arrested on Saturday for allegedly plotting to destabilise the government.

Police confirmed the arrests and said 46 people were rounded up at an undisclosed place in central Harare on Saturday.

Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau declined to disclose the exact location where the arrests were made.

He said the suspects had organised a meeting where they played video footage of the Egypt uprising allegedly “to inspire and motivate people to demonstrate against the government”.

Sabau said the 46 were arrested on Saturday after Gwisai, an official of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), invited people from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) and other unions to attend the meeting.

“On February 19 it is said Gwisai invited people from ZCTU, students from Zinasu, Medical Professionals and Allied Workers’ Union and International Socialist Organisation to attend a meeting with a theme — ISO calls on workers, students and the working people to support the struggle in solidarity with Egyptian and Tunisian workers,” said Sabau.

“The agenda of the meeting was the revolt in Egypt and Tunisia — what lessons can be learnt for the working class in Zimbabwe and Africa.

“Videos of the uprising in Egypt and revolts in Tunisia were being shown to the guests who attended as a way to motivate the people to subvert a constitutionally-elected government.”

Sabau said police would not allow any plots to take Zimbabwe the Egypt way and would clamp down mercilessly on plotters of any revolts.

“It has been said before by our commanders and I will also say it that the Egyptian style (revolution) has no place in Zimbabwe and it will not take place here. We have responsible citizens as compared to the irresponsible citizens in other countries — hence it (revolt) will not work,” he said.

The police spokesperson declined to disclose where the arrested people were being detained saying they were being held somewhere “within Harare” and that they would appear in court “soon”.

A lawyer representing the 46, Marufu Mandevere, however said his clients were being held at Harare Central Police Station and they would probably appear in court Monday.

Mandevere said Gwisai and others were arrested in the city while they were holding a lecture.

“The arrested deny the allegations and say they were just having an academic debate where they were having discussions with the people who attended the function,” said Mandevere.

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