gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Zanu PF Targets Opposition MP Joana Mamombe Amid Legal Battles – The Zimbabwe Mail

Zanu PF Targets Opposition MP Joana Mamombe Amid Legal Battles

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HARARE – The ruling Zanu PF party continues to leverage state machinery to target the vocal opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, using selective legal action to settle political scores.

While Mamombe’s co-defendants Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were acquitted yesterday for their involvement in an anti-government protest in May 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown, Mamombe will still face trial on the same charges starting on July 9.

The charges against the three opposition MDC Alliance (now CCC) activists stem from a protest against hunger during the national lockdown. Authorities charged Mamombe, Chimbiri, and Marova with promoting public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry under section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, and contravening section 5(3)(a) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 related to the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.

This case, initiated in 2020, has dragged on for over four years. Defence counsel Alec Muchadehama called the ruling “bizarre,” questioning the rationale behind prosecuting Mamombe after her co-accused were acquitted on the same charges under similar circumstances. “Who was she gathering with for demonstration then?” he asked.

Joana Mamombe, who became an MP at age 25 in 2018, has faced what analysts describe as targeted persecution. In March 2019, she was charged with treason and spent 68 days in pre-trial detention. In 2020, after reporting being abducted and tortured, the state accused her and fellow activists of publishing falsehoods, charges from which they were acquitted in April 2023 following a three-year trial.

Since her election, Mamombe has spent nearly 200 days in prison. In September last year, a judge controversially ordered her transfer from a hospital, where she was receiving mental health care, to the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

Despite these challenges, Mamombe has continued to serve as the parliamentary chair of the Environment Committee, facilitating the introduction of new legislation and activities. However, her position has become uncertain following recent political upheavals.

She rejected reappointment as committee chairperson under the CCC led by political impostor Sengezo Tshabangu, who assumed control of the party with support from the executive, parliament, judiciary, and state security agency, Central Intelligence Organisation.