Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) under the flagship of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) have condemned what they described as ‘persecution by prosecution’ of Harare Mayor Councilor Jacob Mafume saying his arrest was arbitrary and insensitive.
Mafume was arrested on allegations of trying to bribe a potential key State witness in his trial where he is facing corruption-related charges during his tenure as councilor.
In a statement, the Coalition said it was concerned with the ‘arbitrary and insensitive arrest’ of Mafume.
“Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition notes with great concern the arbitrary arrest and insensitive incarceration of the Mayor of Harare and former CiZC coordinator Cllr Jacob Mafume. The Coalition feels that the right to liberty and free and fair trial are fundamental rights as enshrined in our constitution. The inhuman incarceration comes at a time when news from the Mayor’s lawyers and Medical doctor state that Cllr Mafume’s health has deteriorated drastically,” said the Coalition
CiZC said the right to health was sacred and must be accorded to those in prison and the state must not use colonial era tactics.
“The Coalition wants to state in no unequivocal terms that the right to health is sacrosanct and must be accorded even to those in prison. The delay to try Cllr Mafume and exposing him to inhuman and degrading treatment must be condemned with contempt it deserves.
“The constitution states that one is innocent until proven guilty but in Cllr Mafume’s case, he has already been tried, convicted and sentenced. The state must not use Ian Smith’s Rhodesian tactics to silence or punish its political opponents through persecution by prosecution. The recent arrests of Freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Zengeza West MP Hon. Job Sikhala, MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere proves our assertion.” said CiZC.
The coalition called upon the state to allow Mafume access to health care, free and fair trial without undue delay.
“We call upon the state to allow Cllr Mafume access to health care a free and fair trial without inordinate delay. We also call upon the state not to use judicial capture as a weapon to punish and interfere with cases that involve those in higher offices of power.” the coalition said.