Govt targets CSO leaders


THREE Masvingo residents who were arrested on Monday for organising an unsanctioned gathering have appeared in court facing charges of violating the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) Act.

The MOPO replaced the much-loathed Public Order and Security Act, which was repealed three years ago.

Vigisai Norupandai (53), Aleck Tabe (38) and Magie Chakabuda (62) appeared before magistrate Patience Madondo on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) released Thursday.

They were arrested and charged with failing to seek authority to hold a public gathering at Aphiri Vegetable Market last Sunday in terms of provisions of the MOPO Act.

The trio, which was represented by Phillip Shumba of ZLHR, was granted $5 000 bail each, and ordered not to interfere with State witnesses. They were remanded to February 24 for commencement of trial.

Two other residents Langton Guvava and Phillip Mahachi on January 19, 2022, pleaded not guilty to the same charge when their trial commenced before magistrate Madondo.

They allegedly held an unsanctioned meeting at Zvavahera Business Centre in Gutu, on September 19, 2021.

Guvava and Mahachi, who are out of custody on $2 500 bail each, are represented by Martin Mureri of ZLHR. They were remanded to January 25, 2022 for continuation of trial.

In a related case, the ZLHR said the leader of the opposition Freedom of Rights Under Sovereign party and two of her colleagues were also arrested on September 7, 2021 in Bulawayo and charged with contravening the MOPO Act.

Manyara Irene Muyenziwa, Mono Minela and Tinashe Muzamhindo were accused of failing to seek police clearance before holding the meeting at Stutterfords Building in Bulawayo.

“The trial of the trio, represented by Lison Ncube of ZLHR, commenced last year and will resume on January 24, 2022 at Bulawayo Magistrates Court. The trial had to be adjourned after the presiding Magistrate Steven Ndlovu resigned. Patience Ndlovu is representing the State as the prosecutor,” ZLHR said.

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