2023 ELECTIONS: Mass arrests shake Harare — 39 nabbed as police storm hotel

Ass-Comm Paul Nyathi

A total of 39 civic society organisations’ staff members were arrested yesterday evening after the police conducted raids at their stations in Harare.

Police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi has confirmed adding that investigations are underway.

The 39 are from various civic societies including Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and the Election Resource Centre (ERC) among others.

“Yes, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) confirms that a raid was conducted last night at Holiday Inn hotel in Harare, at a location in Belgravia, in Milton Park, and also at the Grange area where several communication gadgets which include laptops, smartphones, ordinary phones called kambudzi or feature phones and in the process 39 suspects were arrested by the police.

“These were coordinating the alleged release of election results by some civic organisations which are linked to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Election Resource Centre and others .

“We want to assure the public that investigations are ongoing we will release a detailed statement in due course and at the same time we want to appeal to Zimbabweans to remain calm and also assure Zimbabweans that any form of chaos which is going to instigated either by individuals, civic organisations or political parties will be severely dealt with,” said Nyathi.

Their attorneys, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemned the arrest also stating that the whereabouts of those arrested is not known.

“Fears abound that the more time elapses without their lawyers Alec Muchadehama, Kossam Ncube and Jeremiah Bamu of ZLHR not having access to their clients, this may turn out to be an enforced disappearance as provisions of section 50 of the Constitution places an obligation of law enforcement agents particularly the Police Service to respect the rights of arrested and detained persons.

“Muchadehama, Bamu and Ncube are concerned that their clients are being illegally detained as law enforcement agents should first conduct investigations and effect any arrests after establishing a reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed,” said ZLHR in a statement.

— NewZimbabwe

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