BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
A GROUP of Zimbabweans based in North America have started a fundraising drive to assist detained civic and political activists and their immediate families with financial and material resources to ensure survival.
Recently, opposition youth activist Makomborero Haruziviishe was convicted and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for allegedly inciting public violence, while Harare West legislator Joanah Mamombe and activist Cecilia Chimbiri, both aligned to the MDC Alliance, are in remand prison awaiting trial on the same charges.
In Bulawayo, nine Mthwakazi Republic Party activists are also in remand prison awaiting trial for participating in an unsanctioned demonstration outside Bulawayo Central Police Station in March.
The Zimbabwe Solidarity Network (ZSN), bringing together Zimbabweans based in North America, expressed concern over the arrests and announced that they were embarking on fundraising drive to assist detained political and civic activists.
“In the quest to silence dissent, the regime in Zimbabwe has embarked on massive arrests and convictions of economic and political activists,” ZSN members David Siampondo, Taku Rukuni, Thandi Ncube and activist Freeman Chari said during the fundraising launch.
“It is in light of these developments that the ZSN is sourcing resources towards the welfare of State’s victims and their immediate dependants.”
The members added: “We anticipate the resources will go a long way in helping families who are plunged into difficulties following these purges and those orphaned due to political activism. The objectives of the fund are to assist political detainees with basic amenities such as food and sanitary supplies and to ensure that the immediate families of political detainees have food and education support.”
On Tuesday, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiCZ) raised concern over government’s crackdown on dissent.
“It is quite apparent that the State has adopted persecution by prosecution as a tool to silence and victimise opposition and civic society activists and the continued arrests are part of a ploy to decimate the opposition while instilling fear among opposition supporters,” the CiCZ said in a statement.