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111th ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION - page 52 / 60

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- 50-CL/175/11(a)-R.2

Geneva, 1st October 2004

Station and Ref.:Western Commonage CR 18/06/01

Circumstances:

On 3 June 2001 at 12:30 hours and at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, the MP, while addressing a rally uttered the following words, “President Robert Gabriel Mugabe must go even if it means using force. He who comes in by force should go out by violence.” The accused was arrested for contravening the abovementioned section of the said Act.

Current position:

Matter was withdrawn before plea. Western Commonage CRB 3103/01 refers.

1.9.2.Attack of February 2002

Mr. Bhebhe described how it was difficult at the time to move into his constituency, especially after he had been falsely accused of giving a grenade to a youth which killed one person.  However, on 6 February 2002, he and other MDC members, including Mr. Peter Nyoni, MP for Hwange East, decided to use a convoy to move into the constituency.  On their way, they were stopped by roadblocks which they were able to remove, but later found themselves surrounded by armed ZANU-PF youths and supporters in CIO trucks, who started shooting.  The tyres of all the vehicles were deflated by gunshots.  Everyone was ordered out of the vehicles and told to lie on the ground.  They were all beaten and then ordered back into the vehicles with the flat tyres and told to drive to the police station.  There, they were again ordered to lie down and were beaten.  Mr. Bhebhe and the others, more than 30 people, were then locked in a cell equipped for seven people.  They were given no food, no water and no blankets.  After two days, they were taken to Khami prison where they applied for bail.  It was granted on a Monday afternoon, but the release took place only two days later.  They were charged under the POSA with throwing stones and being in possession of dangerous weapons.  In September 2003, the court dismissed the case for lack of evidence.  

Correct facts:

Circumstances:

On February 6, 2002, Abednico Bhebhe and Peter Nyoni teamed up with 38 other MDC supporters and drove in four vehicles towards Nkayi business centre where there was a ZANU-PF rally that was being addressed by Jacob Mudenda.

The convoy was stopped at a police roadblock near Nkayi business centre and were arrested after being found with 166 stones, six axes, one machete, nine knobkerries, one Okapi knife and a wooden plank.

They were charged under POSA for carrying offensive weapons.

Current position:

The case has not yet been finalised and the docket is with the Regional Public Prosecutor (Bulawayo).  Nkayi CR 31/02/02 refers.

1.9.3.Other incidents

On 2 January 2003, Mr. Bhebhe was driving around with a poster that read, “Hoot, enough is enough” (At the time, there were reportedly huge fuel queues countrywide).  He was arrested the next day and was detained until his court appearance on 6 January 2003, when he was released without charge.  

Mr. Bhebhe told the delegation that three weeks previously, he had organised a party in his new homestead.  Police arrived and told him that he had to notify police when he was organising a meeting.

Mr. Bhebhe said that he continued to face difficulties and intimidation in organising rallies in his constituency.  Each time, he announces a rally, an ambush is organised.  The ZANU-PF threatens that they will prevent him from returning.  Moreover, police follow him regularly when he goes to his constituency which, according to him, is never the case for ZANU-PF members.  The delegation understood that in January 2004, MDC councillors were arrested shortly before they were supposed to have a meeting with him.  

Mr. Bhebhe also referred to the difficulties MDC members face if they want to sue the State for wrongful action:  this takes time and is expensive.  

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