19 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Released Glen View Activist 'Rejuvenated'

An activist from the MDC-T who was released from Chikurubi maximum security prison on Tuesday, after ten months in jail, has told SW Radio Africa that she feels "rejuvenated" and happy to be with her family.

Linda Musiyamhanje and 20 others, accused of murdering a Glen View cop last year, walked out on bail just in time to celebrate the holidays and were welcomed by MDC-T supporters and officials outside their Harvest House headquarters.

Five more remain in jail after being denied bail as flight risks. With the courts closed till next year, they will have to spend Christmas and New Years' holidays in jail.

Linda said her release came as a surprise because she had given up hope of being freed before Christmas. She said although there was no evidence against her, she is not angry and will continue to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe.

"They don't have any evidence at all against all the accused persons. They just wanted us to stop being MDC activists. But we are not going to give up. They have made us grow and mature politically," Linda said.

The police say officer Petros Mutedza was killed by MDC-T activists who held a meeting at a local Glen View pub. But the MDC-T insists many of their supporters were not at the pub the day Mutedza died. They say the arrests were politically motivated and meant to destroy MDC-T structures. A total of 29 party members were arrested at the time.

The Youth Assembly chairman , Solomon Madzore, and two others were granted bail last month.

The MDC-T Youth Assembly is demanding the release of the last five activists who were denied bail. The five still detained are Last Maengahama, Tungamirai Madozkere, Rebecca Mafikeni, Yvonne Musarurwa and Simon Mapanzure.

The call came from Clifford Hlatywayo, spokesperson for the MDC-T Youth Assembly. He told SW Radio Africa that no evidence was presented in court to warrant the five being denied bail. He said they are being persecuted because of their political affiliation.

"There is no reason why Justice Bhunu should say the five are flight risks, yet all of them were on bail before. The circumstances were the same for all the accused. This generally shows the political affiliation of the judicial system," Hlatywayo said.

He added: "We seriously condemn this move and call for their release. We call for their freedom. Once again we reiterate that their continued incarceration is political, and not criminal. It is ZANU PF's tricks."

Two other MDC-T youth officials have also been charged in connection with Mutedza's death. Tarirai Kusotera and Jackson Mabota were arrested in late October and were held in detention for a month before being released on bail.

The two are being tried separately from the original Glen View 29. Their case will also resume in the New Year.

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