By Farayi Machamire
Despite having been imprisoned and failing to pay bail, anti-President Robert Mugabe protesters who were released from remand prison over the weekend say they will not slacken their protests until the Zanu PF regime gives in to their demands.
The released activists languished in remand prison for more than a week as they failed to raise bail.
Prosecutors alleged that two of the protesters robbed two women who were passing through the Africa Unity Square around midnight a fortnight ago, charges which the activists dismissed as “trumped-up”.
The released activists include Patson Dzamara, Makomborero Haruzivishe, Mandowa Marezh, Linda Masarira, Shadreck Dhliwayo, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Brian Kasunzuma, Pride Mkono, Irvine Takavada and Oliver Chikumba.
“Having been released from Harare Remand Prison and Chikurubi Female Prison section on an unbelievable and outrageous bail of a whooping $3 200 designed to vex the resistance movement and after eight days of illegal political detention under remand imprisonment . . . and as the central activists of the Occupy Movement of Zimbabwe, we are back to continue the struggles we started,” the group said in a statement yesterday.
The protesters said they were grateful to good Samaritans who posted their bail.
“Our release, however, is not the end of the tribulations we have been enduring.
“The State agents and their collaborators are still working overtime to bring harm to the individual activists who have dared to raise a voice.
“Among our demands are the repayment of the looted $15 billion in diamond revenue, fulfilment of the 2,2 million jobs promised in the run up to the 2013 election, an end to abductions and the safe return of Itai Dzamara, an urgent reversal of the austerity measures which are a direct attack on the livelihoods of the working people, urgent implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe among others.
“On the midnight of June 8, 2016 and the mid-morning of June 9, 2016 the State agents, in a choreographed dramatic manner we believe to be a counter-intelligence sting operation, descended ruthlessly on the movement, arresting 16 of the occupants and charging them with trumped-up robbery and obstructing the course of justice charges. Dozens others were brutalised and assaulted in the process.
“This was followed by a brief detention of 16 comrades at Chikurubi female section prison and Harare Remand Prison.”
Describing their arrests as a drag net, the activists said in a statement that the “subsequent detention of a teenager and a breast-feeding woman (Mandowa Marezh) with a two-month-old infant showed us firsthand the insensitivity and callous nature of the regime”.
“In spite of all this cold and brazen cruelty, we remain more determined than ever to reclaim our future and shape the direction of our country out of the current doldrums.” Daily News