Police in Harare on Thursday arrested the leader of the Devine Destiny Network Bishop Ancelimo Magaya and several other people following an attempt to stage a demonstration that was crushed by law-enforcing agents.
Heavily-armed police thronged the venue where Bishop Magaya and members of the Devine Destiny were intending to gather for the protest. By the time the would-be protesters arrived at the corner of Julius Nyerere and Jason Moyo roads for the demonstration, police were chasing away everyone in their sight from that venue.
When Bishop Magaya and five others emerged at the corner of Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere roads, holding a banner demanding an address of the country’s problems, the police immediately arrested them and bundled them into a police truck that was on stand-by.
Newsday journalist Obey Manayiti and freelance reporter Robert Tapfumaneyi, who were covering the protest, were briefly detained by the police. They were released with no charges.
At the time of going on air, it could not be ascertained whether Bishop Magaya and his co-accused had been formally charged. Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she could not comment because she was yet to be briefed about the case.
Studio 7 could not manage to speak to members of Magaya’s Devine Destiny Network.
Some opposition parties have condemned the arrest of Bishop Magaya saying demonstrations were provided for under Zimbabwe’s new national constitution.
Jealous Mawarire, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe People First party led by Joice Mujuru, said the police must exercise restraint when dealing with church organizations.
Mawarire’s sentiments were echoed by Douglas Mwonzora, general secretary of the MDC formation led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Bishop Magaya and his colleagues wanted to demonstrate against what his organization called President Mugabe’s misrule, police brutality and the worsening economic situation in the country.