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MDC Alliance condemns arrest and detention of MP Tsunga and others

by Stephen Jakes
22 Apr 2020 at 11:23hrs | Views
MDC Alliance has strongly condemned the wrongful and unlawful arrest and detention of legislator Regai Tsunga and 12 others for ostensibly contravening Section 11(1)of the Public Health Act SI 83/2020 unnecessary movement during lockdown.

MDC Alliance Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs Innocent Gonese said to start with there is no such penalty section as cited and the disruption and harassment of the Member of Parliament for Mutasa South and Councillor Farai Bhiza of Ward 11 as well as 11 other people was as unwarranted as it was unlawful.

"Regrettably, due to the heavy handed nature and belligerent behavior of the Police they paid admission of guilt fines under protest in order to avoid the risk of contracting the Corona virus in the police cells as the police refused to accept that no offence had been committed," he said.

"Apart from the failure to appreciate that the offence and penalty under Section 11(a)and (b) of Statutory Instrument arise from either hindering or obstructing the police or failing to refuse to comply with a request or direction given by the police no attempt was made to engage the people who were driven by hunger and the State's failure to make arrangements for the delivery of the basic staple food of maize meal to the ward."

He said it is necessary for the police to understand the import of the legislation and regulations they seek to enforce instead of being trigger happy and arrest innocent people who will not have committed any offence.

"Hundreds of people have been harassed under similar circumstances and as the People's party, the MDC Alliance is demanding for a FULL STOP to this madness. Indeed as the MDC Alliance, we have pointed out before that while the lockdown is necessary to curb the spread of the pandemic what the state has dismally failed to do is to provide the safety nets for the people of Zimbabwe the majority of whom were already living from hand to mouth," he said.

"The situation was compounded and exacerbated by the ambush on Sunday afternoon when a caring government would have made a timeous announcement of the extension of the lockdown. As the MDC Alliance, we reiterate that the right to food and water is enshrined in Section 77 of our national Constitution and it is imperative that the government ensures that this right is realized."

Gonese said further other crucial human rights like the right to Life, Human Dignity and Not to be Tortured or subjected to Inhuman Degrading Treatment or Punishment can not suspended under any circumstances.

"We therefore demand that the  State should deliver on the promises it made at the commencement of the lockdown and to implement the High Court orders made by the High Court last week in terms of which the police and other law enforcement agencies are required to observe people's Rights in enforcing the COVID-19 Regulations," he said.

"Further, as the MDC Alliance we are also concerned that Lovemore Zvokusekwa who was arrested on Saturday and appeared in Court on Monday on charges of may be deprived of his right to a fair trial."

"We say so because the complainant appears to have already taken the role of both the Prosecutor and Adjudicator by making a pronouncement that an example should be made of the Accused by imposing the maximum penalty of 20 years."

He said they believe in the doctrine of Separation of Powers and undue pressure should not be exerted on the courts to convict and the doctrine of the presumption of innocence is the cornerstone of our judicial system.

Source - Byo24News