Haruziviishe (29), an MDC Alliance executive member, was on Tuesday jailed for 14 months for inciting public violence, a sentence which is being challenged by civil society groups and human rights lawyers.
In a series of tweets on his @ Jamwanda2 Twitter handle yesterday, Charamba mocked MDC-Alliance for failing to save the activist from being sent to jail. He later told NewsDay that he was using the social media plat-form to “influence moral behaviour”.
“I am not mocking anyone. I am mocking hooliganism which is taking the human form of Makomborero Haruziviishe,” Charamba said.
You don’t expect us to shower confetti on lawlessness. Haruziviishe is a young college dropout who confuses politics with violence. By imprisoning him, we try to use him as an example to discourage such behaviour. What I am doing in my tweets is moral sanctioning. There are certain behaviours which cannot just be condoned in society.”
He said Haruziviishe’s conviction had nothing to do with politics because he was tried and convicted in a court of law “independent” from political parties’ interference.
“Was he tried at the Zanu-PF headquarters or MDC party offices that it can be referred to as a political matter?” Charamba asked rhetorically.
But MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said by imprisoning and arresting human rights activists, government was demonstrating beyond doubt there was no new dispensation to speak of.
“It is clear that politicians are abusing the courts and weaponising the law to silence dissent and punish members of the opposition. This is the latest symptom of the ever-growing bad governance crisis this nation faces. This is not about Mako, buy what he represents, the quest by the people for freedom from tyrannical rule.”
She added: “It’s a huge matter of regret that civil servants such as Charamba are mocking human rights defenders.
“He clearly lacks the courage to associate his true identity with the abhorrent content of his tweets. How can he then be expected to understand or respect the type of courage it takes to fight brutal regimes such as the one he represents?”
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika said Charamba’s tweets were acts of “oppressors rejoicing at the efficacy of their system to silence critics”.
“Unfortunately, it appears Charamba and others are oblivious to the fact that due to the temporary nature of power, the architects of manipulation of the criminal justice system may find themselves victims to that system,” said Kika.
“There is precedent for that.”
Human Rights Watch Southern Africa director Dewa Mavhinga said Haruziviishe’s imprisonment was a political matter, hence a senior government official like Charamba should stop dabbling in partisan politics.