Prime Minister supporters freed after year
Twenty-one supporters of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party accused of killing a police officer have been freed on bail after spending over a year in detention without trial, a top party official said on Wednesday.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said 21 of 31 party members who were “falsely” charged over the murder of a policeman at a bar in a working class Harare neighbourhood were released on Tuesday.
“Our comrades should not be under prosecution at all. They did not commit any crime,” Finance Minister and MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told a news conference.
Five activists remain in custody while another five were released on bail earlier this year. “As a party we still call for their unconditional and immediate release,” Biti said of those still in detention.
The party has complained of what it termed “selective application” of the law by police who have arrested dozens of MDC activists on allegedly fabricated charges in recent years.
The party has said supporters of long-serving President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF are never arrested when they commit acts of violence.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai entered into a coalition government four years ago after violent and failed 2008 elections, but the shaky union has been mired in squabbles over political reforms.
The two leaders are expected to run in elections next year after the country goes to a referendum to vote on a draft constitution.
No dates have been set for the polls, which regional leaders want held by June 2013.
(The Namibian, Windhoek)