Zimbabwe Police Rearrest 3 Women Opposition Activists 

Source: Zimbabwe Police Rearrest 3 Women Opposition Activists | Voice of America – English

Netsai Marova (C) and Cecilia Chimbiri (R) arrive at Harare Magistrates Court, March 6, 2021, with Charles Kwaramba (L) of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

HARARE, ZIMBABWE – Women’s rights groups are calling on Zimbabwe authorities to unconditionally release three female opposition activists arrested – for the third time in less than a year – ostensibly for flouting the country’s lockdown regulations to contain coronavirus. The women say their arrests are part of a victimization campaign meant to silence dissent, but they remain defiant.

The three young women – Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri – appeared in court Saturday, where they were denied bail after their arrest Friday for allegedly holding a gathering in violation of lockdown rules.

The three, members of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, face 10 years in jail if convicted. But Mamombe, also a member of parliament, is defiant and says they are innocent.

Joana Mamombe, a member of parliament representing Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, is seen in Harare, March 6, 2021. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
Joana Mamombe, a member of parliament representing Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, is seen in Harare, March 6, 2021. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

“They are trying to silence the voice of young people who are trying to stand up and speak against the injustices that are happening in Zimbabwe. They want to make sure that we are broken, shuttered. This is why they continuously victimize us. We have become a soft target for the state. Maybe because we are young women. But we are not to be silenced by this mere victimization. In actual fact, they do not know what they are creating by this continuous victimization,” Mamombe said.

Zimbabwe prosecutors refused to comment Saturday.

Faiza Mohamed, who heads women’s rights group Equality Now in Africa, is calling for the trio’s release.

“It is part of an ongoing campaign of the state prosecution in Zimbabwe. The three were arrested in May (2020) for attending a peaceful protest in Harare to express legitimate concerns about the widespread food shortages during the pandemic. They were abducted from police custody by suspected state agency and subjected to a horrific physical and sexual assault, which has caused long term mental and physical damage. The government must stop malicious prosecution, free them from police custody, and launch an independent investigation into the brutal attack committed against these women,” Mohamed said.

The three woman were initially arrested for protesting what they saw as the authorities’ failure to provide social protection during COVID-19 lockdowns in Zimbabwe. They were later arrested for allegedly faking their abductions. They are expected to be back in court Monday to appeal their denied bail.


  • comment-avatar
    Mpopota 2 years ago

    Always arrest on a Friday so the victime have no choice but to remain in the cells until Monday at the earliest. Modus Operandi of those who rule by fear.

  • comment-avatar
    Kalulu 2 years ago

    Whilst the state thinks that it is punishing the main opposition party by harassing these young women, it only shows how short-sighted they are, as this will suffocate the state’s already damaged reputation in the eyes of the public and the international community.

    Not so long ago the president himself addressed a reasonably large crowd during the current lockdown in Chivi, and no one was arrested; not so long ago Zanu-PF official in Mash Central addressed another gathering which was widely reported in the media, no one was arrested, a traditional leader recently addressed a public gathering and no one was arrested; Prof Madhuku was part of the gathering in front of the Harare Magistrate’s Court where Hon Mamombe offered support to a young political activist Haruzivishe, he was not arrested even when he offered himself to be arrested just like they have arrested Hon Mamombe and her colleagues. The state alleges that Hon Mamombe and her colleagues violated the lockdown regulations but Prof Madhuku who was also there is seen as not violating the same lockdown regulations and you expect people to acknowledge that we have a responsible government, what a joke and please give us a break!!!

    This government is taking the nation back to the dark and uncivilised ages that we only read about and never imagined that such things really ever existed but now it is below our own noses. What a shame!!!

  • comment-avatar
    Ndonga 2 years ago

    One thing that these arrests prove beyond any doubt is that ED and his gang of crooks are afraid and know that their days as our rulers are numbered.
    They are making the same mad mistakes that Smith and his gang of crooks made in their final days.
    And we all know what happened to them.
    God speed the day when we can at last be free of our mad money grabbing rulers…and all in Zimbabwe can rise from the ashes.