via Christian party president arrested, charged under POSA | The Zimbabwean 14 July 2014 by Brenna Matendere
Jacob Ngarivhume, the interim leader of Transform Zimbabwe, the opposition political party formed last December, has been arrested and is currently detained at Gweru Central Police station.
Ngarivhume who was arrested on Saturday, was yesterday charged for violating the controversial Public Order and Security Act law which requires that organisations intending to hold public gatherings must first seek authority from the police. He was supposssed to appear in court today but his name is not on the court roll amid reports police have said they are still compiling the docket.
Allegations being leveled against the latest party’s interim leader are that he convened a public meeting on Sartuday in the afternoon at a hall in Gweru’s Mkoba stadium without fulfilling requirements of POSA.
However, the party’s spokesperson, Sungai Mazando, told The Zimbabwean that the meeting was not a public one but was actually a closed door event where even members of the press were not allowed entry.
“We were having a closed door meeting in Mkoba where we wanted to come up with mechanisms to set up structures in Gweru ahead of our planned congress to scheduled for end year. It was a meeting of only top leaders that is why no one was even clothed in party regalia.
“However, armed police stormed the meeting just when we had just started and arrested the party leader thereby disturbing all the proceedings. The incident is unfortunate especially in this era of a new constitution which gurantees freedom of assembly and association, themselves key factors in a democratic nation,” he said.
TZ which is set to take part in the 2018 election with an aim of dislodging Zanu (PF) and its leader President Robert Mugabe, was formed by 2,400 delegates who attended the Convention of Prayer Network on December 8. Some of the party’s founding principles include good governance, a democratic society, building a competitive economy and empowerment of citizens.
Though it is the first time that Ngarivhume has actually been locked up, this year police’s Law and Order section summoned him twice “to explain activities of his party.”
He was first summoned in April while on a recruitment drive in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland, North province together with 16 party members for questioning by the police. In June he was to be again called for explanations after a similar drive in Chimanimani.
After his arrest on Sartuday, Ngarivhume was taken to Nehanda police station in Mkoba where he was then transferred to Gweru Central police station. The holding cells at Nehanda are considered the worst in which suspects endure horrible times because the camp does not have water and electricity supplies.
Close sources disclosed that police in Mutare and Hatfield in Harare have communicated with their counterparts in Gweru and notified them that they are also keen to arrest the embattled leader for having violated POSA in the two areas. He is therefore likely to just be transferred from Gweru to those areas after initial court appearance in Gweru.
Politicians who have been previously arrested in the province like MDC-T’s Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya and former Kwekwe Central legislator Belssing Chebundo, say police use arbitrary detentions to weaken resolve of prominent opposition figures fighting the Mugabe regime.