FOUR University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students were yesterday arrested for staging a protest on Monday evening over the continued incarceration of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker, Job Sikhala and the “weaponisation” of the law against government critics.
According to the Zimbabwe NGO Forum, Benjamin Watadza, Emmanuel Chitima, Comfort Mpofu and Lionel Madamombe are being charged with criminal nuisance.
They are being represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum lawyer, Darlington Marange.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was not answering calls to his mobile phone.
On Monday, over 30 youths took part in the protest holding placards, some inscribed “#FreeWiwa, #FreeJacob and #BlackMonday.”
The youths were singing and denouncing the Zanu PF government which they accused of persecuting the opposition politicians.
They later dispersed without incident.
The students also took to social media under the hashtag #BlackMonday “to mourn the death of democracy and rule of law in the country”.
Sikhala has been in pre-trial detention since June last year on charges of obstructing the course of justice, inciting violence and disorderly behaviour.
Opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume was recently jailed for four years for inciting public violence.
He will, however, spend three years in prison.
Another opposition member, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, escaped with a US$500 fine last month after she posted a picture alleging that a police officer had fatally assaulted a baby strapped on its mother’s back.
A number of opposition members and human rights activists also face various charges amid concerns over shrinking democratic space.