Arrests, Detentions are Mugabe’s tool for power
By Staff Reporter
In 2002, Morgan Tsvangirai was taken to court facing treason charges after ex-Israeli spy and businessman, Ari Ben-Menashe, gave video evidence which purported the plot of “eliminating” the President. After some time appearing in court, Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted due to lack of evidence. This was not the first time the treason card had been played; the late veteran and ZANU founding father, Ndabaningi Sithole faced the same fate in 1997. In 1983, Bishop Abel Muzorewa was arrested for conspiring against Mugabe. Just days after the arrest, Mugabe reportedly warned his main opposition in Joshua Nkomo, Sithole and Muzorewa against conspiring.
The above mentioned cases show the treatment prominent leaders who stood against Mugabe faced. It has always been the case that anyone who opposes the system or falls short of favour will end up behind bars. This is the exact system the office holders claim to have fought against in the liberation struggle. To claim that Mugabe is not aware of these arrests is far from the truth. He has to be the architect of everything that happens in the party since power is centralized to him. The other striking resemblance of all the mentioned cases is that there was no sufficient evidence for any of the case to survive until sentencing.
A typical example was in the 1980s when two ZAPU officials, Lookout Masuku and Dumiso Dabengwa were arrested and detained for their involvement in the dissident activity. They were in custody for about three years without going to court. In a file documentary by David Lomax, President Mugabe confirmed the arrests of Dabengwa and Masuku but implied that the intelligence was a better court than the court of law.
The then Prime Minister Mugabe said, “We happen to know that they (Dabengwa and Masuku) were responsible for this exercise in hiding of the arms. Dumiso Dabengwa went to Zambia and persuaded the Zambians to send the arms to ZAPU, to ZIPRA rather than to government. In court he (Dabengwa) will say that off course he never said such things. You know the procedures; the English procedure requires that there should be that clear evidence…”
When asked why the two were still in custody if there was no proof that they were guilty the Prime Minister said, “We can still prove with our own intelligence information that he is guilty sufficiently guilty to be able to be detained.”
The disappearance of Itai Dzamara and the arrests of the Occupy Africa Unity, Tajamuka activists, Evan Mawarire and more recently the War Veterans’ leaders are just a continuation of an unlawful system which thrives on quashing any form of opposition. In the face of these arrests, opposition continues to mount and very soon it will be useless to keep trying to silence the voices of the mass. It will only be sensible to listen and mend the repairable damage the system has caused. Continuously bruising the citizens will only help to cement a vile legacy and despicable rule that the government has built for the past 36 years.
The recent protests show the extent of failed governance. Zimbabwean citizens are now taking to protest against every form of injustice and misgovernance. The arrests may continue, the torture may also continue; but ultimately, how long can the system continue to fight the people’s voices?