Patson Dzamara gives details of his arrest and detention for 5 days

-Details of my arrest and detention for 5 days-

By Patson Dzamara

Barring the fact that when I accepted the call to take a stand against ZANU PF’s misrule, I was fully aware of the vicissitides of this path, I am not always prepared to welcome and deal with the monstrous tendencies of the deeply entrenched evil system.

Notwithstanding that sometime towards the end of last year, a stranger whom I met for the first time in my business associate’s office made a prophecy to the effect that on this path I have to be accustomed to being arrested and accused for doing nothing wrong, I still can never be adequately prepared for the morbidity which comes along with that.

On Friday last week, Tatenda Mombeyarara and I reported at the Harare Magistrates Courts together with our lawyer Mr. Obey Shava to get outstanding warrants of arrest cancelled. We were suppossed to have attended court on the 24th of April but failed to do so. The reason was as straightforward as this. At the beginning of March 2017, I applied to the court through our lawyer to waive my right to be present at the hearing of the judgement of an application for an exception because I had to attend to something out of Zimbabwe.

The court granted that and gave the condition that I attend on the following remand date and so I travelled outside the country. As I always do, I then checked with my co-accused Tatenda who informed me that court would be on the 25th of April. Later on the 24th it became apparent that Tatenda had misdiarised and when he tried to attend he failed to make it in time travelling from Mutare where he was. On my part I had travelled out of Harare on that particular day. Immediately, we got in touch with our lawyer who made an appointment with us for Friday to get the warrants of arrest issued against us cancelled. On Friday we earnestly reported to the court and explained why we failed to attend court.

For the record, in the past two years, I have appeared in court probably more than 60 times and I had never defaulted. Neither have I failed to adhere to the sometimes ludicrous conditions of the process. This was the first time for me to default.

Harare magistrate Sande who has a somewhat resemblance of my mother facially, shockingly refused to entertain our application and detained us in custody till Tueday the 2nd of May. Why do I explain all this? What then transpired will suffice to give an understanding.

Firstly, the visibly shocked Public Prosecutor who had seen us religiously attend court for more than a year tried in vain to have us at least pay a default fine of $10, but the agitated magistrate stuck to her guns to have us detained at all costs.

Secondly, when we arrived at Harare Remand Prison, as befitting our clearly inflated offense of defaulting court we were assigned to the C section where those with lesser offenses are kept under a more relaxed environment. Shockingly, after only a few hours we were removed from the C section and there was debate among the prison officers whether we were supposed to be taken to Chikurubhi Maximum Prison or not. We were eventually taken to the notorious D section at Remand Prison where the hardcore criminals such as murderers, robbers, rapists etc are kept. No explanation was given for this.

When we set out for court yesterday, the order of detainees was changed to ensure that Tatenda and I get to be shackled with the few leg irons available.

At court, instead of releasing us after the detention, the clearly frustrated magistrate, ordered us to pay $20 fine each or do more five days in custody. We are glad that we got the fines paid and escaped the lice infested, freezing cells and frugal food rations.

Above all, that I am grappling with a health challenge which I clearly highlighted to them was none of their concern. They didn’t care. It’s amazing how we can be so mean to each other like that. I give thanks to the Lord for sustaining me through the ordeal.

From this treatment it became clear that the regime clearly tags activists and does all it can to persecute and frustrate them. That this regime would rather have most leaders of the resistance movement either in custody or perpetually on court remand is an apparent agenda of theirs. All these are shock tactics to keep the movement down where we unfortunately are currently.

The experience has emboldened our resolve to revive the resistance movement, to fight back in order to liquidate the regime and bring about a better Zimbabwe in our lifetime.

A new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime.


(Patson Dzamara is a leadership coach, author, and pro-democracy activist based in Zimbabwe)

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