A statement from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition:
Pride Mkono, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Youth Committee Chairperson is appearing today at the Harare Magistrates Court to face charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government.
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Pride presented himself to the police on 15 August 2019 after the police requested to interview him. He was accompanied by his lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who are representing him.
Mkono joins a list of 22 civil society leaders and human rights defenders and opposition leaders who have been charged with subversion since the beginning of the year. Apart from his arrest, following yesterday’s protest, police arrested over 80 citizens in Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Harare on allegations of committing public violence.
Medical facilities are also attending to more than 20 cases of people who were brutally assaulted by police including a journalist who was covering yesterday’s peaceful protests. The injured include women and children.
Meanwhile the government owned Herald has made sensational allegations that civil society leaders who were attending the SADC People’s Summit in Tanzania are planning to demonstrate against President Mnangagwa and are being trained to commit acts of banditry. The state has gone on to publish over 20 names of civil society leaders that they claim are planning to smear the image of the country.
The SADC People’s Summit is an annual platform where over 2,000 citizens from the SADC region converge to share notes on developments in the region and develop a set of recommendations to the regional body and heads of states from member states.
In May, Zimbabwean authorities arrested 7 civil society leaders upon their arrival from Maldives and charged them with subversion despite the absence of evidence that shows that they were trained in banditry. Between January and February 2019, the state arrested labour leaders and CSOs leaders including the CiZC Chairperson Rashid Mahiya on allegations of attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government.
Increasingly CSOs have complained that the Mnangagwa administration is closing democratic space by continuously persecuting civil society leaders and human rights defenders.