MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe on Thursday joined her party president Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in attacking the justice delivery system saying she learnt with shock and dismay the conviction and sentence of Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others.
Gwisai was convicted and sentenced together with Hopewell Gumbo, Antonette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma and Welcome Zimuto for conspiring to commit public violence after they were found watching a video of the Arab uprisings last year.
“I have learnt with shock and dismay about the conviction and subsequent sentencing of six activists for watching videos on the North African uprisings that led to the fall of dictatorships,” Khupe said.
Khupe said the conviction and sentencing of the activists set a wrong precedent and was not in tandem with democratic principles.
“While I respect the separation of powers and the liberty of the judiciary, the conviction of the six rights defenders shakes the very foundation of internationally accepted freedom to associate and engage,” she said.
“Zimbabwe has recorded gross human rights violations that have shaken the justice delivery system. As a woman leader who has been harassed and arrested before, I convey my solidarity to the six activists and especially to Antonette Choto. May you be strong and find solace in the knowledge as women leaders we are with you.”
Khupe said people should know their progressive stance on human rights, justice and dignity for all.
Tsvangirai on Tuesday said he was disturbed the government could label people watching videos as criminals, plotting to unseat it.
“This not only besmirches the government’s image, but serves to confirm Zimbabwe has not moved an inch in its respect for human rights,” he said in a statement.