Zimbabwe: Opposition Woman MP On Treason Charge As Zimbabwe Hits Mugabe Replay Button

MDC Alliance MPs Joana Mamombe, left, and Charlton Hwende, right.

The Zimbabwe government has scored a first for the country. But it won't win any applause for this milestone. Our tiresome neighbour has managed for the first time to charge a woman with treason.

In her other life, Joana Mamombe, 25, is a microbiologist with a Master's degree from a Norwegian university. Now the opposition MDC Alliance MP is imprisoned in Harare.

Mamombe spent four nights in a sewage-infested cell underneath Harare Central Police Station after being arrested at a tourist resort in eastern Zimbabwe on Friday, 1 March.

Mamombe had been attending a parliamentary event. She is now charged with treason. Bail was refused on Tuesday. The ruling party also once arrested the late MDC Alliance founding president Morgan Tsvangirai and charged him with treason along with two senior colleagues.

What could Joane Mamombe have done?

It is all connected to the so-called "stayaway" from 14 January, called by the usually impotent Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. This soon became violent in a handful of poverty-stricken suburbs in Harare and Bulawayo.

All and sundry, including opposition supporters, army, police and anyone who could, looted like hell, hurled rocks and stones and set a few targets on fire.

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