After searching for more than twenty hours, lawyers have found Jestina Mukoko, the Zimbabwe Peace Project Director, at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
This is despite a High Court order issued at 9p.m. on Wednesday for their release into a private hospital in Harare.
Access to their lawyers is being denied. (This was something granted to Mugabe himself and other detainees during the Liberation War by Ian Smith, and I wonder...) They are also not allowed to see their relatives or to have medication and food brought in from the outside. Mukoko apparently has medication she should take daily at intervals. When she was abducted, the CIO, the secret police who took her, refused to allow her to even get her spectacles.
The glasses were missing when she appeared in public for the first time since her abduction. This was Wednesday at the Magistrates' Court. As for medication, it is almost certain that the state has bought some, which can be used as a tool in the "interrogation" by threat of withholding it if she does not tell them what they want to hear.
And they want to hear quite a bit. The chargesheet that was regurgitated by the state newspaper, The Herald, is nothing but a ruse.Deceptively, it narrows the charges to one specific instance of recruiting a former policeman to go for training in Botswana. That fake charge sheet is designed to answer certain questions being asked by SADC, that is all there is to it.
It very neatly explains why Mukoko and her two colleagues are in custody by assigning each of them a role to play in a single specific instance.
But this thing is way bigger than that. There are soldiers still to be unmasked, allegedly approached or recruited by the MDC. There will be tales of incentive payments, arms caches, bombings of police stations, incitement of soldiers to riot, assassination attempts on Chief Air Marshals, foreign funding, foreign bases and infiltration into the country already by an insurgent army numbering some 300.
This is no ordinary case, then. This is the case upon which Robert Mugabe has staked the future of his continued rule. It is a case that will decide, for Mugabe at least, whether he continues to hold sway over Zimbabwe or not. So, a life and death struggle then. And you wonder why he is showing his traditional contempt for the courts?
What the regime wants out of this is a case in which Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti (Secretary-General of the MDC) and other leaders in the opposition are seen to show their hand in the whole "insurgency training" saga.
So this is not about Jestina Mukoko or any of the other 43. It is about Morgan Tsvangirai and the detainees will not be released until they "give him up". Perhaps you are beginning to understand why the MDC leader refuses to come home. He knows what fate awaits him. He has been in prison before. Heck, he's had his head bashed in by some policemen at Machipisa Police Station, whose names are now on the lips of every Hararian.
Once they have Tsvangirai, the whole explosive and tightly-woven case will come out. And the MDC will become a terrorist organisation, banned from taking part in the political affairs of the nation and even from taking part in elections.
Either way, the Global Political Agreement, "that dirty little piece of paper" (as Mugabe once called the Lancaster House Constitution that gave us Independence), is dead. Yes, the agreement is dead. It is NOT resting it's eyes, no matter what our Monty Python "leaders" tell us.
How long will this take, you ask? Well, how long is a piece of rope? And, for good, measure, with the country so consumed with fear of the spectre of war, Mugabe will merrily call an election. At which he will, in one fell swoop, reverse all the parliamentary losses with one or two seats going to a token opposition, amidst savage butchery and wanton destruction of food stores and livelihoods.
Perhaps he is overreaching? We'll see.