Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SCMZ Leaders Detained

Journalist Pius Wakatama detained
June 10, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A group comprising of Military Intelligence, Support Unit and CID Officers raided the premises of the Ecumenical Centre in Harare.
The centre houses the Christian Alliance, Ecumenical Support Services, Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe, Padare Men’s Forum and the Zimbabwe National Pastor’s Conference.
When they departed from the premises in central Harare they led away 10 member of staff. Among them were veteran journalist Pius Wakatama of the Christian Alliance and Prosper Munatsi, general secretary of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe. Also arrested were four women, one of them carrying a six-month old baby.
Marlon Zakeyo, a Zimbabwean lawyer working at the newly established Zimbabwe Human Rights Advocacy office in Geneva, said that he had received a text message around 3.00 pm from staff members in Harare who witnessed the arrests.
“The lawyer attending to this case, Jeremiah Bhamu of Muchadehama, Makoni and Partners was himself followed by unmarked vehicles on his way back to his office,” Zakeyo said. “For almost two hours Bhamu, Alec Muchadehama and two other lawyers were trapped by four unmarked vehicles and blocked from exiting and leaving for home.
“Our office with the help of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists then mobilised support that eventually secured the safe release of the lawyers. They are now in hiding.”
In August 2006 the police arrested Wakatama, Bishop Levee Kadenge, Reverend Ancelimo Magaya, and Reverend Brian Mungwindi, four leaders of the Christian Alliance, after a meeting of the Christian Alliance leadership. The group was released without charge after questioning about the activities of their organization and alleged plans to form a political party.
A hard-hitting political commentator, Wakatama was a regular columnist on The Daily News before its ban by government in 2003 and has written for other publications since then.
As of Monday night Wakatama and the rest were still detained in the Law and Order Section of Harare Central Police Station.

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