FORMER Home Affairs Deputy Minister and Zanu PF legislator Ziyambi Ziyambi has railed against lawyer and aspiring Mount Pleasant MP Fadzayi Mahere for allegedly convening a social football match in the Harare constituency without seeking police clearance.
The sports tournament was at Groombridge Primary School in Mt Pleasant last Saturday.
Mahere, also a rights activist, was given 5 minutes to call off the event before being arrested.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), she was later detained and interrogated for up to seven hours at Marlborough and Harare Central Police Stations.
Police later recorded a warned and cautioned statement from her after accusing her of breaching the provisions of the tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Her charges are still pending.
But in a live radio discussion on elections on Monday, Ziyambi Ziyambi chided the young lawyer for allegedly going against the country’s security laws.
“You do not organise a football match without informing the police,” Ziyambi said.
“I am assuming that she didn’t inform the police because if she had the relevant clearances then it would not be possible for them (police) to go and stop that function.
Ziyambi said he was once an official with local premiership champions Caps United.
“I am saying it against a background whereby each time we had a football match…we would inform the police, have a meeting with them, agree on certain conduct on match day.
“So each time you have a crowd, it’s a requirement of our law that the police have to be informed. So, if that was not followed, it has nothing to do with elections; it has everything to do with public security,” said a legislator who was once in charge of the country’s police ministry.
The radio programme was organised by the Election Resource Centre (ERC).
Meanwhile, ZLHR has condemned Mahere’s arrest.
“The disruption of a legitimate sports tournament raise concerns on the sincerity of the authorities to uphold the rights to freedom of association and assembly as well as other fundamental rights as provided in the Constitution and ahead of the 2018 general elections,” ZLHR said in a Monday statement.
“The disruption of such a gathering, which is guaranteed in the Constitution due to the imprudent application of POSA is of great concern to ZLHR as it was done in a very heavy handed manner in
defiance of the rights of those affected including participants at the sports tournament.
ZLHR said it was disturbing the incident happened in front of the children.
Such a heavy-handed manner of disrupting a sports tournament is not in the best interests of the children.
ZLHR is distressed that ZRP officers as the law enforcement agents continue to conveniently misinterpret the provisions on gatherings provided in POSA.
The top lawyers group urged police to immediately drop charges against Mahere.