ZLHR Fights for Release of Detained Clergyman and 34 Congregants

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has intensified efforts to get a clergyman and 34 church members released from prison, where they have spent close to two months.

52 year-old Kanyenzura Parere, who is a Bishop of Mirirai Jehovha Apostolic Church and is also the leader of Zimbabwe Transformative Party (ZTP), an opposition political party has been detained at Harare Central Remand Prison since he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on 9 July 2022. Parare was apprehended as he marched along Robert Mugabe Way towards Simon Muzenda Street in Harare together with 34 members of his church while singing a gospel song with the lyrics “Emmanuel tisunungureiwo tanzwa ne nhamo” loosely translated to “Emmanuel save us from bondage”.

He was charged with contravening section 7(1)(5) of the Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) Act after he allegedly convened a gathering and led a procession of his church members without notifying the regulating authority, which is ZRP.

In court, prosecutors claimed that Parere and his followers, who are represented by Evans Moyo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, gathered at Copacabana bus terminus and marched in Harare’s central business district while singing and were intercepted by some ZRP officers as they had not notified law enforcement agents about their protest.

Parere’s trial is scheduled to commence on 7 September 2022 before Harare Magistrate Tafadzwa Miti.

34 of Parere’s political party supporters were charged with criminal nuisance as defined in section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Prosecutors alleged that the 34 church members unlawfully acted in a manner which is likely to create a nuisance by walking on the roads and pavements while singing a gospel song with the lyrics “Emmanuel tisunungureiwo tanzwa ne nhamo” and thereby obstructed the free passage and movement of people and vehicles.

The 34 include Simon Goshomi, who is ZTP’s Vice-President, Richard Mhurushoma, the opposition party’s Chairperson, Fortune Chapeyama, who is ZTP’s Secretary-General, Prince Mukozho, Solomon Duwa, Shongai Mushinje, Noah Dabvu, Jasper Muringanidza, Honoured Mutangadura, Sherperd Mutsonhi, Edson Shonhiwa, Chaora Rovesai, Tafadzwa Musere, Tsverukai Harava, Shamiso Majecha, Runia Musere, Margret Chibwana, Sakile Nkomo, Helen Kuudzewe, Liah Munakandafa, Victoria Changadzo, Restar Kunyenzura, Emmanuel Musere, Godfrey Mashava, Givemore Bandera, Pangai Kurehwatira, Edward Mhindu, Leon Mukopfa, Pride Charedzera, Irvin Musenze, Jefta Takaedza, Thomas Zengeya and Felix Zengeya.

Their trial is scheduled to commence on 26 September 2022.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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