HARARE West constituency legislator Hon. Joana Mamombe and opposition MDC Alliance party youth leader Cecelia Chimbiri were on Tuesday 2 February 2021 detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after they were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members and charged with undermining police authority.
Hon. Mamombe aged 28 years and Chimbiri aged 32 years, were arrested by ZRP members on Monday 1 February 2021 in Harare’s central building district and charged with undermining police authority as defined in section 177(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act alternatively with hindering or obstructing a police officer to perform duties during a national lockdown as defined in section 11 of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020.
Prosecutor Audrey Chogumaira told Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje that Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri, who are represented by Charles Kwaramba of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, undermined police authority by shouting and criticising law enforcement agents who were ferrying some police officers together with accused persons, who had been arrested for yet to be established charges.
Chogumaira alleged that Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri allegedly questioned the wisdom of the police officers in arresting people and putting them in a truck without observing safe distancing at a time when there is a risk of contracting coronavirus.
The prosecutor said the conduct of the legislator and the MDC-Alliance party youth leader had the effect of engendering feelings of hostility towards police officers and exposing them to contempt and ridicule.
On Tuesday 2 February 2021, Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri presented several complaints before Magistrate Mambanje against ZRP members, whom they accused of violating several of their fundamental rights including not being immediately informed of the reasons of their arrest and the charges as provided in the Constitution.
Magistrate Mambanje ordered the state to investigate the complaints and present a report to the court.
Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri return to court on Wednesday 3 February 2021, where their lawyer will file an application seeking their release on bail.
This is the latest arrest of Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri, who together with another MDC-Alliance party youth leader Netsai Marova, were arrested in 2020 and charged with various charges including publishing or communicating falsehoods and contravening national lockdown regulations.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights