SW Radio Africa (London)

23 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Crackdown On MDC-T Youths in Harare

The MDC-T has said it is alarmed by a new wave of arbitrary arrests and intimidation of its supporters after a number of their youth activists were fined for criminal nuisance, after being caught gathered in a park in Kuwadzana.

Twenty-one party youths in Kuwadzana, a constituency held by Nelson Chamisa the national organizing secretary, were arrested on Wednesday and taken to Kuwadzana 2 Police Station where they were detained before paying $10 each as an admission of guilt fine.

The youths were putting up posters for a rally Chamisa will address on Sunday.

The independent Newsday newspaper said provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tadius Chibanda confirmed the arrests and said the youths were in a park and failed to explain what they were doing there.

A senior member of the party at Harvest House said he wondered if gathering in a park in Zimbabwe has now become a crime. He condemned the sharp crackdown on their activists in the run up to the next year's crucial elections.

'It's not a coincidence that there is now a persistent stream of intimidation targeting our supporters who dare to speak out against ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe,' the official said. Chamisa also castigated the police action, saying it shows why the country needs serious transformation.

'Why and how do you arrest people for putting up a poster? I am raising the issue with the officer-in-charge Southerton to explain how and what law they are using and what politics they are using,' he said.

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