Zimbabwe court grants bail to 26 opposition party members

 A Zimbabwean court granted bail on Friday to 26 opposition party members who were arrested for holding what authorities said was an unlawful gathering.

The arrest of Citizens Coali­tion for Change (CCC) members, including two members of parlia­ment, stoked fears of a crackdown on opposition politicians before a crucial election this year at a yet-to-be-announced date.

“This confirms that the arrest was an abuse of process in the first place,” CCC spokeswoman, Fadzayi Mahere, told journalists outside a court in Harare. “All this shows that the regime’s paranoia has reached fever pitch and they notice that they are staring defeat in the face.”

On January 14, Zimbabwean po­lice fired tear gas at the CCC party gathering in Harare and arrested its members. The defendants’ lawyers argued that the arrests were unlawful as the gathering was at a private space.

Arguing against bail, prosecutors said the party had not sought clear­ance to hold the meeting. Zimbabwe laws require that political parties apply for approval from police two weeks before holding a gathering.

The arrests came after a wave of politically motivated violence against opposition supporters in rural Zimbabwe, raising fears of repres­sion before this year’s presidential election.

CCC, led by the youthful Nelson Chamisa, will battle President Em­merson Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF for the second time at the poll.

The opposition party, born out of the old Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), enjoys massive urban support and is seen as a threat to ZANU-PF’s 43-year-old strangle­hold on power. — Aljazeera

Show More
Back to top button