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MDC calls for an end to police crackdown on civic society, private media

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The MDC condemns the recent calculated crackdown on civic society members and media practitioners by the police and State security agents. This week saw the arrest of two Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition employees, Beloved Chiweshe and Maureen Gombakomba, Nkosilathi Moyo of ZOVIP in Kwekwe and two Standard journalists, Nevanji Madanhire and Nqaba Matshazi in Harare on various false charges.

In a separate incident, Jestina Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project was this week stalked around Harare by an unidentified man driving in a black Rhino double cab truck. Such surveillances in the past on human rights activists have led to kidnappings and Mukoko was one such victim when she was abducted in 2008.

Madanhire, the Editor of The Standard and reporter Matshazi were on Tuesday arrested in Harare on charges of theft and granted a US$100 bail each on Wednesday.  They were charged with stealing documents belonging to a Zanu PF sympathiser, Munyaradzi Kereke. On Thursday, police officers visited The Standard looking for the same journalists, Madanhire and Matshazi over a story written last month in which a Zanu PF minister, Kembo Mohadi is evicting new farmers in Beitbridge in order to pave way for Mohadi’s son and nephew.

The MDC’s position is that the arrests on civic society members and journalists are nothing but a calculated move by the police and Zanu PF politicians to intimidate them ahead of possible elections next year. The MDC finds it strange that any other opinions, analysis or news reports that are deemed to be out of favour with Zanu PF and its politicians are suddenly becoming matters of interest to the police.

The MDC condemns these arrests as it is clear that desperate Zanu PF politicians are using the police and other State agents for their personal vendetta against the media and civic society members. The latest arrests and intimidation of human rights defenders and independent journalists are very unfortunate for they place Zimbabwe on the international map for entirely the wrong and pointless reasons.

Read the full article here

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