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ZimRights boss arrested

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POLICE yesterday arrested Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa for allegedly conducting illegal voter registration and fraud.

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Machisa handed himself at Harare Central Police Station in the company of his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Gift Mtisi.

Police immediately took Machisa to the ZimRights offices in the capital where they searched the premises in the presence of his lawyers before taking him back to Harare Central after which they locked him up at Rhodesville Police Station.

The arrest of Machisa followed a police raid at the ZimRights offices last year and the arrest of two employees who are accused of conducting illegal voter registration.

Machisa was out of the country at the time, but police were looking for him.

Mtetwa spent a good part of yesterday at the police station seeking to have him freed.

NewsDay was unable to obtain comment from her as she said she was busy at the police station.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who engaged the lawyers to represent Machisa,  said the ZimRights director had been charged with communicating false information prejudicial to the State thereby contravening Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

ZLHR spokesperson Kumbirai Mafunda said: “He (Machisa) is also being charged with contravening Section 136 and 137 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for committing fraud and forgery.”

He said Faith Mamutse, a secretary with ZimRights who had also been arrested, was released after police recorded a statement from her.

MDC-T women assembly boss and Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone at the weekend said the onslaught on civil society was a ploy by Zanu PF to prohibit fresh voter registrations because the former sole ruling party had already registered its supporters.

She accused Zanu PF of trying to intimidate civic society ahead of elections.

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