Activist urges caution among colleagues amid state crackdown

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE Citizen Forum national coordinator Taurai Kandishaya has condemned the recent state crackdown on civil society activists but was quick to urge his colleagues to avoid acts that could be construed as tantamount to meddling in national politics.

He was addressing journalists in Harare on Thursday.

“We also encourage civil society organisations to stick to the mandate and purpose upon which they founded their organisations,” he said.

“The moment they start meddling in politics, they will be exposing themselves to the game of politics and the kind of treatment one would get is political.”

Kandishaya went on to condemn the state’s abuses saying the forum was against the violation of human rights.

This comes on the back of the recent arrest of seven civil society members accused of plotting to subvert President Mnangagwa’s government after they took part in a human rights training workshop in Maldives in May.

The activists have since been sent to remand prison at Chikurubhi with their bail applications set to be heard this Friday at the High Court.

Among them is a 25-year-old social justice and girl’s rights activist Farirai Gumbonzvanda who is voluntarily serving as a mentor at a non-profit organisation Rozaria Memorial Trust.

Kandishaya urged authorities to follow lawful procedures when citizens are deemed to have committed crimes.

“But if there are forms of brutality and violation of human rights in civil society, as youths in these dialogue processes, we are against that.

“If somebody commits a crime, there are proper procedures that must be followed…we do not tolerate brutalities or violation of human rights. Torture is very bad, it’s something we do not like,” he said.

The government has been accused of deploying dreaded state agents to torture and intimidate civil society and workers union leaders with Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader Obert Masaraure becoming the latest victim on Wednesday night.

Masaraure, who has been calling for the government to pay teachers decent wages since late last year, was allegedly abducted and tortured by suspected state security agents.