Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Former student leaders demand release of activists

A powerful grouping of former student leaders from Zimbabwe has demanded the ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of 46 activists arrested, tortured and later charged with treason by the Mugabe regime.

Gwisai-in-prison garb alongside other activists
Gwisai and the other activists in prison clothers being led away

The newly formed Former Zimbabwe Student Leaders Network (FZSLN) issued a statement on Thursday condemning the arrest of the 46 activists who include two prominent former student leaders Munyaradzi Gwisai and Hopewell Gumbo.

Police and members of the state security agency arrested the activists on the 19th of February as they gathered at a private meeting organized by the International Socialist Organization to discuss recent events in Tunisia and Egypt. Video footage of protests in Egypt and Tunisia was screened before an academic debate ensued.

“We understand that at least seven of the activists were tortured while in police custody and that formal charges of ‘attempting to overthrow government through unconstitutional means’ were eventually laid against them well outside the 48-hour period prescribed by law,” the FZSLN said in a statement.

“The totally unacceptable torture and harassment of activists indicates clearly the partisanship and lack of professionalism of the police. Despite over two years of a transitional coalition government, serious human rights abuses continue to take place in Zimbabwe.

“We call upon Zimbabweans in their various groupings in civil society, churches, trade unions and pro-democracy political parties to actively show solidarity with the detained activists through protest marches demanding the freedom of these 46 activists and a restoration of respect for human rights and democracy to Zimbabwe,” the FZSLN added.

The Former Zimbabwe Student Leaders Network draws on the membership of prominent former student leaders like Arthur Mutambara, Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, Daniel Molokele, Hopewell Gumbo, Dewa Mavhinga, Chartlon Hwende, Pedzisai Ruhanya and others.

Below is a full list of those arrested, tortured and charged with treason:

1                   Munyaradzi Gwisai

2                   Antonater Choto

3                   Tatenda Mombeyarara

4                   Michael Sozinyu

5                   Eddson Chakuma

6                   Hopewell Gumbo

7                   Welcome Zimuto

8                   Phillip Magaya

9                   Prolific Mataruse

10              Godknows Biya

11              David Mupatse

12              Douglas Muzanenhamo

13              Ganizani Nunu, Reki Jimu

14              Josphat Chinembiri

15              Strutton Muhambi

16              Trevor Chamba

17              Clarence Mugari

18              Munyaradzi Maregedze

19              Willie Hlatswayo

20              Ian Muteto

21              Tinashe Muzambi

22              Tinashe Mutazu

23              Pride Mukono

24              Lenard Kamwendo

25              Tinashe Chisaira

26              Trust Munyama

27              Peter Garanewako

28              Elizabeth Makume

29              Megline Malunga

30              Daison Bango

31              Malvern Hobwana

32              Tashinga Mudzengi

33              Ednar Chabalika

34              Thokozile Mathe

35              Francisca Thompson

36              Masline Zvomuya

37              Nhamo Kute

38              Annie Chipeta

39              Tabeth Chideya

40              Charles Mubwandarikwa

41              Thomas Chibaya

42              Fatima Manhando

43              Blessing Muguzayaya

44              Robert Muhlaba

A baby arrested with the mother on Saturday was released the following day into the custody of the father.