Sunday, 28 February 2021

TWO PROTESTING STUDENT LEADERS IN PRISON HELL

Two student leaders accused of organising a protest against police boss Godwin Matanga are spending the weekend in remand prison after a Harare magistrate delayed ruling on their bail application.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) president Takudzwa Ngadziore and secretary-general Tapiwanashe Chiriga were arrested on Friday after allegedly staging the protest outside the Harare magistrates’ court the previous day.

The duo appeared before magistrate Vongai Guwuriro yesterday and were remanded to tomorrow for the bail ruling. Prosecutors opposed bail.

Ngadziore and Chiriga were allegedly part of a group that held a demonstration demanding the release of pro-democracy campaigner Makomborero Haruzivishe.

Haruzivishe was arrested over a week ago on a slew of allegations that included taking part in anti-government protests during the lockdown.

Ngadziore and Chiriga allegedly demanded the resignation of Matanga while addressing journalists outside the courts.

Meanwhile, Chiriga and Nancy Njenge,  a Zinasu member, were yesterday granted bail on charges of violating Covid-19 lockdown regulations after they allegedly participated in the demonstration.

The student leaders are being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) members Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Jeremiah Bamu. But Chiriga remains in custody for the other offence.

ZLHR communications officer Kumbirai Mafunda was also arrested on the same day while covering court cases, but was released without charge after Chinopfukutwa and Bamu’s intervention.

Another student leader, Alan Moyo, was released last week after spending 71 days in detention without trial following his arrest last year for allegedly calling for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ouster.

Mnangagwa has been accused by United Nations experts of using lockdowns to slow down the spread of the coronavirus to close the democratic space.

Several government critics have been arrested since the government first introduced lockdowns in March last year.

The activists were accused of violating Covid-19 lockdown regulations by organising protests. Standard

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