MLF takes Mugabe to African rights body

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The Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) is taking President Robert Mugabe and the government to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) over the arrests and alleged harassment of its members.

Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas, all MLF senior executive members are facing charges of planning to overthrow the government.

They were arrested last month for allegedly distributing flyers calling for the separation of Matabeleland from the rest of the country.

Gazi and Thomas have been released on $2 000 bail, while Siwela remains behind bars as the Supreme Court is still to set the hearing of the appeal by the Attorney General’s Office opposing his bail application.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, MLF secretary for legal affairs Sabelo Ngwenya confirmed they were taking President Mugabe to court.

“We are working on taking (President) Mugabe and his government to the ACHPR over the continual arrests and harassment of our members,” he said.

“We have made contact with the ACHPR and we are working on presenting the matter before them soon.”

The ACHPR is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective people’s rights throughout the African continent, as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter.

The militant and radical MLF was launched in January this year and is advocating for the independence of the Matabeleland region located in the southern part of Zimbabwe.

The party alleges Ndebele-speaking people were being marginalised by the government and faced discrimination at their workplaces and in other business and social spheres.