HARARE – Harare West MP Joana Mamombe and two other female MDC Alliance activists were “missing” on Thursday, a day after they were reported arrested following an unannounced street protest in Harare’s Warren Park suburb.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it had searched over half a dozen police stations in Harare, including the main Harare Central, but they had failed to locate the trio.
“Legally speaking, this is an enforced disappearance and a violation of section 86(3) of the constitution,” said lawyer Roselyn Hanzi from the ZLHR.
“It’s very sad that the state has a penchant of misdirecting a lot of energy, resources and time violating rights rather than complying with the constitution.”
Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova – all members of the MDC Youth Assembly – jogged through the streets of Warren Park on Wednesday singing songs denouncing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
The demonstration was not sanctioned by police and appeared to be in breach of coronavirus lockdown rules.
The MDC Alliance, in a statement, said the MDC Youth Assembly took part in a “flash demo” to protest against economic suffering and failings of the government to provide social protection to millions of Zimbabweans affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
They carried placards written ‘Hupfu Kuvanhu’, ‘Tafa Nenzara’ and ‘Youth Covid Relief Fund Ripi?’.
“Initially, they told colleagues they’d been arrested but police say they are not in their custody. We demand their release,” the MDC Alliance said.
Lawyers say the trio’s captors have breached their rights to human dignity and to a fair trial by holding them incommunicado and denying them access to their lawyers, rights which cannot be limited under section 86(3) of Zimbabwe’s constitution.