Police Detain Leading Zimbabwe Activist After Protests

Police officers make way for an ambulance by removing stones from a barricade during a “stay-away” demonstration against the doubling of fuel prices on January 14, 2019 in Emakhandeni township, Bulawayo. Zinyange AUNTONY / AFP

 

Leading Zimbabwean activist Evan Mawarire was detained by police on Wednesday, AFP reporters witnessed, when he was taken away from his house in the capital Harare.

Armed police had been at Mawarire’s property for more than two hours before he was driven away in a pick-up truck as security forces crack down after anti-government protests.

“Armed police surrounded his residence this morning and he has been picked up. We don’t know for what purpose,” Teldah Mawarire, his sister, told AFP.

“We are not aware of where he has been taken… I was directly in contact with him until he was taken and he could no longer be online. We are very concerned.”

Security forces have shot dead at least five people and wounded 25 others during a crackdown since nationwide protests on Monday, according to Human Rights Watch.

“Those responsible for using unlawful lethal force should be promptly investigated and held accountable,” Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director at HRW, said in a statement.

It said protesters burned a police station, barricaded roads with large rocks, and looted shops in Harare, Kadoma and Bulawayo cities, while security forces responded with live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas.

The protests were triggered by the government announcing at the weekend that fuel would more than double in price as the country’s economic crisis deepens.

AFP

Activist Arrested For Calling Mugabe ‘Dead Man Walking’

Robert Mugabe

A Zimbabwean activist has been arrested after calling 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe “a dead man walking”, lawyers said Wednesday, in the latest case of authorities cracking down on dissent.

Sten Zvorwadza, the leader of a street vendor’s union, was charged with insulting or undermining the president in a press interview where he was also quoted as saying that Mugabe was “old” and “day-dreaming”.

Zvorwadza is a prominent anti-Mugabe campaigner who has led several demonstrations calling on the veteran leader to step down.

Zimbabwe’s worsening economy has seen many people resorting to informal street vending due to massive unemployment.

Zvorwadza is yet to appear in court, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) group said.

Authorities have often arrested critics of Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980.

In March, two journalists were arrested over a report that the president, who travels abroad for regular medical treatment, was “in bad shape”.

A pastor was also detained after prophesying that Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.

Last week police arrested a journalist who reported that Mugabe’s wife Grace had donated second-hand underwear to supporters.

Despite his advanced age and weakening health, Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has endorsed him as its candidate for the 2018 general elections.

AFP

Zimbabwean Pastor Arrested During Church Service

Rivers Police Arrests Second Suspect Linked To Eight-Year-Old Murder
File Photo

Zimbabwean activist pastor Evan Mawarire was on Sunday arrested during a church service after he posted a video bemoaning the country’s worsening economic troubles, his lawyer said.

The charismatic pastor who has been arrested several times for his dissenting views informed the congregation about his imminent arrest in a video streamed live on Facebook.

The video showed him being led away to an unmarked car.

His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo confirmed the arrest, saying “he has been charged with subverting a constitutional government”.

“He is detained at Harare central police station and we are preparing for his appearance in court,” said Nkomo.

In the video, Mawarire interrupted the service to tell the church about the presence of the police.

“I am told that the police are outside waiting for me,” he said.

On Saturday, Mawarire posted a video on social media showing long queues at fuel stations with petrol and diesel supplies scarce across Zimbabwe as the economy buckles under a foreign currency shortage.

Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar and other foreign currencies to stem galloping inflation which peaked at 231 million percent officially, and resorted to introducing bond notes a surrogate currency last year as banks ran short of foreign currency but the bond notes have not eased the country’s currency woes.

Mawarire is currently facing charges of misconduct and inciting violence after he addressed university students striking over fee hikes in February.

He is also due in court on Monday for a separate charge of trying to remove the government.

The charges stem from his involvement in organising a crippling strike in July last year that shut down major cities and paralysed public transport, prompting the government to ban public protests.

After his release he fled to South Africa and then to the United States.

Upon his return on February 1, police arrested him at the airport in Harare and charged him with attempting to sabotage the government.

AFP

Anti-Corruption War May Not Yield Results – Femi Falana

Femi FalanaHuman rights lawyer and activist, Mr Femi Falana says the current anti-corruption war by the Federal Government may not yield any meaningful result after all.

This, according to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, is because the criminal justice system in the country has been hijacked by those individuals who have looted the treasury.

He was speaking at a public lecture organized by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye chapter, with the title ‘The Limit Of Anti-Corruption War’.

Mr Falana blamed the nation’s value system for the level of impunity it has witnessed.

The human rights lawyer called for an urgent review of the nation’s criminal justice system to make it more accountable and effective in fighting corruption.

Presidential Nomination: Ayo Obe Carpets PDP’s Decision

Presidential NominationHuman Rights Activist and Legal Practitioner, Mrs Ayo Obe, is uncomfortable with the process adopted by the People’s Democratic Party for the 2015 presidential ticket.

Speaking on Channels Television few hours after President Goodluck Jonathan picked his presidential nomination form at the PDP secretariat in Abuja, she said that it sends a wrong signal for a sitting president not to go into primaries with other interested aspirants.

“I think the attempts to manoeuvre out the opposition within the party speaks to a lack of confidence which people find surprising in an incumbent president.

“Normally an incumbent president, firstly, within his own party, should be big enough to withstand any form of competition, not to talk of an incumbent president in the wider election having the confidence to say that he can beat all comers.

“You find all these little little things that are being done as though the President doesn’t have enough confidence in his ability to win even within his own party.”

The leadership of the PDP had endorsed President Jonathan as their sole candidate for the 2015 presidential election but some interested members of the party have complained of being denied their rights to challenge the President for the party’s ticket.

Mrs Obe said; “Its one thing to say that ‘I have emerged by consensus’ but when there are clearly people within the party who want to contest, then I think that it looks better from the perspective of that candidate to allow those people and contest with those people.”

She also suggested that this could form a precedence for incumbent senators, governors and those in other elective positions to demand automatic tickets.

According to her, some persons within the PDP would be of the opinion, “If its good enough for the President, then it should be good enough for us, in the name of continuity and wide acceptance and so on and so forth.”

LASU Protest, A Fight For Survival – Analyst

Achike ChudeA public affairs analyst and representative of the Joint Action Front, Achike Chude, on Monday, described the on-going protest by students of the Lagos State University (LASU) – over the hike in school fees as a fight for survival.

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Chude said the policy was “most irresponsible” of the Lagos government, insisting that education is “about a service that is crucial and important for the well-being of the State”.

He also argued that the controversy over the development of the school and the increase in fees, required will-power on the part of the government to ensure that the citizens got education, no matter what.

“Our leadership, in as much as some of them have been educated within and outside the country, they do not seem to understand the virtue of education. You pay a price if you do not educate your people,” he said, noting that although “education is not enough, it is a way forward”.

Referring to the recent ASUU strike, he stressed that the government had become comfortable based on the inaction of the people for many years and bad governance was helping to radicalise those considered docile.

He made mention of the recommendation of UNESCO which urged governments to set aside 26% of its budget for education, asking that “how much is Lagos State spending on education?”

Chude disclosed that the position of JAF on the matter was for government to reverse the fee to what it was before the protests, as it was the duty of government to inject funds into the system.

“Education should be free in this country, because of where we are and the government capacity.”

Asked why students usually protest any change made in the education system, particularly, any increase in fees, Chude explained that “there is a nexus between the average student and the government institution because he is aware his parents contributed to building that infrastructure”” .

He noted that as long as it was a public institution, people had the right to ask questions.

He further said that the fact that people were sending their children abroad to be educated does not make it a LASU issue. It is a Nigerian one.

“There’s nothing wrong if LASU is a school for the poor,” he said.


 

Nwagu Calls On Taraba Citizens To Break ‘Lock Jam’

The Convener of the Say No Campaign Nigeria, Eze Nwagu, has called on the people of Taraba state to break the ‘lock jam’ in the state by demanding that the governor make an official appearance.

He said this while responding to statement made by the Taraba state Commissioner for Information, Mr Emmanuel Bello adding that he was wrong to say that “the governor returned,” but rather he should have said that “the governor was brought back”.

He also said his claim that the governor was received by a ‘tumultuous crowd’ is false as no media reported such.

In order to put an end to speculations about his health, the governor should have admitted his frail condition by addressing the people and thereafter ask for more time to fully recover.

“That has not happened,” he said adding that “all this drama is something we have gone through”. He described it as an act of “holding on to legalistic ties as something that we do when it is convenient. Remember in 2010, we played it until we invented doctrine of necessity”.

“This drama is unhelpful not just for the people of Taraba state, those are part of the things that make us the laughing stock in the comity of nations,” Mr Nwagu said.

He advised the governor to continue resting until he is fit to resume duty and let the acting governor continue in his stead.

He said that the health condition of serving government officers should not be “shrouded in opaqueness” and then called on the people “to break the lock-jam in the state”.