By Leopold Munhende
PRESSURE group Tajamuka/Sesijikile has called on the government to issue a blanket amnesty on around 60 of its members it claims are holed up in exile and scared to return for fear of being arrested.
According to the group’s organising secretary Tineyi Munetsi, those in exile are unwilling to return because authorities have indicated they will be arrested on charges of having organised and executed the violent demonstrations that rocked the country in January.
“We are communicating with everyone outside the country, they are all well but we are urging them to come back home because there is no role they are playing from outside.
“We are making an appeal to government to stop all those harassments and stop detaining people,” said Munetsi.
“We are not hundred percent safe in Zimbabwe, we have activists such as (Pastor Evan) Mawarire who are now being asked to report daily to the police and a lot more who were accused of violence during the (January) shutdown.”
Government deployed the army and other security forces to quell the violence that resulted in the death of at least 17 people according to human rights groups.
Over a 1000 people including members of #Tajamuka, the opposition MDC youth assembly, a militant arm of the party known as the Vanguard, MPs and senior officials of the MDC as well as civil society including labour federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) leadership were rounded up by authorities in the aftermath of the riots.
Some have since been charged with subversion which attracts a 20 year jail term.
Thousands took to the streets in a three-day shutdown that was triggered by a 150% fuel price hike announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa accused civil society groups of planning and funding the protests as part of what the government claimed was a regime change agenda.