Nine Masvingo Residents Forum (MRF) Members Arrested Applying for Case Dismissal

The continuation of trial for the nine (5 women, 4 men) MRF members is on as they appeared in court a day before yesterday 14/07/2021 at Masvingo magistrate before magistrate Ndhlovu. The examining process is now over and all four state witnesses managed to testify. The defence led by Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) will apply for case dismissal and the court date was set for 23 July 2021. The nine members were arrested on 23 April 2021 and charged with section 37 of the Criminal Law Codification, participating in unlawful gathering with intent to promote public violence.

The nine MRF members (5 women and 4 men) are secretary general Prosper Tiringindi, R Mavhenge, A Mufamba ward 5 chairperson, Mataga Clara, Christine Mukuma, Viola Masuma, Kudzai Chamunorwa, Matter Zigwata and Leeroy Taylor are just being persecuted for an offence which they did not commit. The law enforcement agents are being used as a tool to silence residents from demanding proper service delivery from Masvingo City council. During the cross examining process the state witness, one of the police officers, clearly states that he arrested the nine as per order from their superior despite the fact that the accused were sitting on their empty buckets at civic centre without commiting a crime.

The security forces are abusing their powers, violating the right of citizens to petition local authorities despite deterioration of services. MRF condemned the unlawful arrest of its members on baseless charges. The Zimbabwe constitution guarantees everyone the right to safe, clean water and sanitation for them to live a dignified life. Water is very important for a healthy life. No one can exercise other rights (to work, to life, to education etc) if they do not enjoy their right to water.

In another issue Zimbabwe Republic police is forcing residents in Masvingo town to only board Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO). Masvingo residents are now preferring illegal taxi operators who charge RTGS $50 per trip to ZUPCO charging RTGS $60 per trip. On another note Masvingo residents are facing electricity load shedding where in some locations they go for 4 to 5 hours without electricity.

Source: Masvingo Residents Forum

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