Zimbabwe opposition official arrested


Zimbabwe police arrested a senior opposition official on charges of failing to stop a banned protest in the capital, his lawyer said.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement, called a demonstration last Friday as the start of a nationwide protest movement but it was banned by the police.

Some opposition supporters still turned up for the protest and were dispersed by police using batons, tear gas and water cannon.

Amos Chibaya, MDC national organising secretary and convener of the planned protests, was questioned by police and detained overnight, lawyer Obey Shava told Reuters. Chibaya was expected to appear in court on Friday.

“Police are saying he failed to take proper steps to stop a demonstration. They refuse to let him go so he was locked up,” Shava said.

Separately, Chibaya is facing trial on subversion charges linked to violent protests in January prompting an army crackdown that led to the deaths of more than a dozen people.

Police spokesman Paul Nyathi did not immediately comment on Chibaya’s detention.

Protests planned by the MDC in other cities this week were halted by police and the courts. The party said hopes were fading government might become more tolerant of dissent than the one it replaced.

The opposition said four officials were abducted in Bulawayo by unknown armed men, following similar incidents in the capital reported by rights groups.

Government said in a statement police were investigating a report of a female comedian kidnapped and assaulted by unknown armed men. She was critical of government and police in her skits.