The youths besieged Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) spokesperson Sten Zvorwadza’s business premises, harassing his employees and threatening to violently shut the operation down.
Zvorwadza was arrested and assaulted at Mbare police station where he had gone to report the incident. He was charged under Section 186 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly “threatening to murder” Zanu PF activists, Clifford Mazarura and Clever Ntabende.
He appeared in court last week.
According to the defence, Zvorwadza was approached by Zanu PF youths while installing underground paraffin tanks at the Harare Municipality pumphouse near Matapi in Mbare.
The youths ordered Zvorwadza to stop his work claiming that Mbare was Zanu PF territory and threatened him with unspecified action.
The presiding magistrate ordered the state to investigate the assault complaints and remanded Zvorwadza out of custody until next week.
In a statement ROHR Zimbabwe said Zvorwadza was assaulted by police and denied access to medical attention while in police custody.
“Zvorwadza’s arrest has brought to the fore the concerns of many peace-loving Zimbabweans with regards to continued selective application of the law and police brutality since the coalition government was established,” said the organisation.
Zvorwadza bemoans conditions at Mbare police station
Zvorwadza said the conditions at Mbare police station, where he was detained, were unbearable.
“Conditions under which we survived were horrendous,” he said. “We shared five blankets, the 14 of us.
We were given a three-litre bucket to use for flushing the toilet, which wasn’t enough to serve its purpose. The experience was horrifying,” he said.