CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesman Mfundo Mlilo and programmes manager Nixon Nyikadzino were on Saturday picked up by police at the Harare Magistrate Court where they had gone to show solidarity with three people arrested after skirmishes at Harare Remand Prison on Friday.
By PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Mlilo and Nyikadzino were picked up together with Occupy Africa Unity leader Dirk Frey and immediately whisked to Harare Central Police station.
They had gone to the court to show solidarity with freelance journalist Edgar Gweshe and two activists, Charles Nyoni and Don Makuwaza who were arrested on Friday at the remand prison for taking pictures at a protected area.
The trio were part of a group of 50 activists who had gone to visit National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairman Sten Zvorwadza, his director Samuel Wadzanai and 14 other vendors who are in remand prison after they were denied bail on public violence charges.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights communications officer Kumbirai Mafunda confirmed the arrests.
“Some prison and police officers turned up at Rotten Row Magistrates Court where they ambushed and arrested Mlilo, Nyikadzino and Frey who were following up on the appearance in court of Gweshe, Nyoni and Makuwaza,” Ma-funda said.
“At the time of their arrest, the prison and police officers alleged that the three had taken pictures and had led a ‘resistance’ at Harare Remand Prison on Friday.”
Mlilo, Nyikadzino and Frey who are still in police custody are being represented by Gift Mtisi.
Meanwhile, Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe granted Gweshe, Nyoni and Makuwaza $50 bail each coupled with reporting conditions.
They were ordered to report to Harare Central Police station once every two weeks and to continue residing at their given residential addresses.
The court remanded them to August 6 2015. They were represented by Tonderai Bhatasara.
Bhatasara was relieved that his clients would spend the weekend out of prison.
The courts recently have been denying bail to all vendors who were arrested in the last fortnight following clashes with municipal police as they demanded the return of their goods confiscated during an operation to clean the central business district of illegal vending.
At present there are 20 vendors in custody who were denied bail by the Magistrates Court and are in the process of appealing against the decision at the High Court.
The State opposed their bail arguing that the municipal operation was on-going and therefore there was likelihood that the accused persons would mobilise to resist relocation of vendors outside the central business district.