Mugabe’s Sadc embarrassment

via Mugabe’s Sadc embarrassment – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 19, 2014 by Moses Matenga

Zimbabwe police on Monday severely assaulted and detained photojournalist Angela Jimu, MDC-T MP Ronia Bunjira and several MDC-T youths during a peaceful demonstration for jobs, sparking outrage from human rights defenders and media organisations.

Jimu, a photojournalist with The Zimbabwe Mail, was assaulted and detained in the morning for taking pictures of the police while pouncing on MDC-T youths who were marching demanding that the Zanu PF government delivers on its 2,2 million jobs promised in the run-up to last year’s elections.

She suffered injuries and was released late in the day.

Lawyer Obey Shava, of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, last night confirmed that seven of his clients from the MDC-T had been arrested while staging a peaceful demonstration.

“I am not sure whether they will be released or not, but their condition is bad,” he said.

The violent clampdown came as Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government were gathered in the resort town of Victoria Falls for a summit that saw President Robert Mugabe taking over the bloc’s chairmanship.


MDC-T youth assembly spokesperson Clifford Hlatywayo said the development was “shameful” to a country holding an important regional summit.

“We were demonstrating along Julius Nyerere [Way] turning into Nelson Mandela [Avenue] when police came in their numbers and started beating up people. It is our right as citizens to demonstrate and when we are beaten up, it shows the authorities have no respect for our democratic rights,” Hlatywayo said. “Sadc should know and see that because of this, Mugabe is not fit to be a leader of the regional group and should reverse that.”

Media organisations and human rights defenders condemned the attack on Jimu and MDC-T youths, saying it was “unjust and unconstitutional”.

Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe chapter national director Nhlanhla Ngwenya said the action by police was “barbaric and should be strongly condemned”.

“Just like any other organisation that values freedom of expression and freedom of the media, we strongly condemn this act which to us is not only barbaric, but reflects the continued repressive law that the Zimbabwean media is confronted with,” Ngwenya said.

“It comes at a time Sadc is meeting in Zimbabwe and pretending that all is well. The irony of it all is that it comes at a time the regional bloc has washed its hands on Zimbabwe on the pretext that under the new constitutional dispensation, all was well and this exposes the fallacy of that belief.”

He called for the immediate release of Jimu and that the State should pay for her medical bills.

MDC-T Harare provincial spokesperson Obert Gutu said the move by the police confirmed that Zimbabwe was “a police state”.

“This is a total embarrassment to the Sadc leaders who are busy wining and dining in the resort town of Victoria Falls while the government run by the new Sadc chairperson is unleashing wanton violence upon its own people. So much for regional solidarity.”

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Michael Chideme said the union was shocked by the harassment of journalists and would engage authorities to put an end to this.

“We have persistently condemned any form of harassment of journalists as this compromises their safety. Such levels of intolerance and disrespect of the integrity of journalists and media practitioners are totally unacceptable,” Chideme said.

Police provincial spokesperson Inspector Tadious Chibanda claimed he was yet to receive information about what transpired as he was out of office.

“I am yet to receive the information. I am not in the office now, but you can check with [national police spokesperson] Chief Superintendent [Paul] Nyathi,” Chibanda said.

Nyathi was not picking up calls.


  • comment-avatar

    Forget it. Nothing is embarrassing to SADC.

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    Petal 8 years ago

    Come one Civil Society take advantage of the Dictators Summit and highlight these issues Beatrice where are you?

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    Naison Nyereyegona 8 years ago

    We have seen these people resort to such desperation before and everytime there is a major conference of sorts, that is when they cause mischief. We will see them do the same towards November when the EU meets to consider the issue of sanctions against our country. They will riot, they will do all sorts of things meant to cause panic and draw attention. They will want to be thrown into jails and from there, their kind will trumpet calls for their release and try and say the EU should maintain sanctions because there still are the so called human rights abuses in our country. Those running our jails should deal with such people permanently while in the jails. The stupid people should be made to limp out of jails to die out of jail a few days later.

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    kutongwa nonjazi 8 years ago

    In South Africa they shoot demonstrators, maybe Botswana will be ashamed of such actions. Malawi and Zambia believe whatever Zimbabwe does is right. Mozambique seem to be taking it’s own route. The effort for democracy is visible and seem to be working

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    Mike Nyathi 8 years ago

    At least these few people have the courage to get on the streets while our fat politicians talk and make merry.

  • comment-avatar
    biend 8 years ago

    a leopard never changes its spots

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    avenger/revenger 8 years ago

    Well said bazir wamukuzi. Sadc is a nonentity. Just look at the members of this nonsence klub of kleptomaniacs arrogant pompous grand starters farting at impunity