Simba Makoni Arrested
Dr Simba Makoni, the leader of Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn party in Zimbabwe is being charged under POSA (Public Order and Security Act) with addressing 400 or more people last year in Glendale without police clearance. I suppose they can not find any other charge to stick!
Harare, Zimbabwe, 03 August 2009
Dr Simba Makoni, interim President of Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn has been charged with "addressing more than 400 people" in Glendale during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.
Makoni is due to appear in court in Glendale this week to face trial on the charge.
I was with Dr Makoni in Glendale during the campaign and during the incident for which he is being tried and it is nothing more than harassment.
Those who followed the Makoni campaign during the Presidential elections of 2008 know that the Doctor held very few rallies. His approach was to do "walkabouts".
At every place where we arrived and where he did his walkabouts, we went to the local police station where Dr Makoni explained why he was in the area. He also explained at every police station that he was not going to address a gathering but would simply walk around either the markets or the shopping centre greeting people and answering questions.
We had these walkabout in literally every town and city in Zimbabwe and whenever a crowd gathered (which was inevitable considering his status), he would immediately hop into his car and drive off to the next point where he would again talk to people one on one.
In Glendale, we actually just passed through on our way from Centenary towards the end of his campaign. It was already late noon and he still went to the local police station and informed them he was in the area. We then went to Glendale town centre where he spent no more than 30 minutes moving from one shopfront to another greeting people and answering their questions as well as urging people to vote him in the presidential election.
We actually never got more than ten people gathered at any one point. In fact, Dr Makoni walked along the shopfronts giving his salute and greeting people. At no point was there a gathering.
It is surprising, is it not, that, even though the Inclusive Government insists that POSA etc are gone, that very same government is prosecuting Dr Makoni in August of 2009 on the basis of that same law.
What has changed, then? How has the inauguration of this so-called Inclusive Government brought the change that Tsvangirai claims.
The MDC-T president and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, said recently that his Minister of Home Affairs (in charge of the police) was working well ("fantastic" was the word he used) with his Co-Minister from ZANU PF.
Is this what he meant.
The charges against Makoni were only activated a month or so ago, long after the Inclusive Government was inaugurated.
That should tell you all you need to know about the approach of ZANU PF and the MDC-T to the law and even to their own discredited Global Political DisAgreement.
Still, the authorities are insisting that Makoni addressed a gathering of 400 or more people in Glendale and has to face trial for this breach of POSA.
The details of the allegations, I suppose, will come out in court towards the end of this week.