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How Honourable Joanah Mamombe was arrested

By Staff Report

Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda says Harare West legislator Joanah Mamombe was not arrested during a Parliament meeting as is being spread around but that she was arrested after and when they were on their way to Harare.

Advocate Mudenda who was with Honourable Mamombe when she was arrested said the legislator was not harassed nor as she even handcuffed adding that the police officers even helped her with her bags.

Honourable Mamombe is who the youngest legislator in Zimbabwe at the moment is facing treason charges were she is alleged to have tried to remove a constitutionally elected government.

Speaking in the National Assembly Mudenda said Mamombe was treated with dignity during her arrest.

Below is what Mudenda said in the National Assembly concerning the arrest of the Harare West legislator.

Let me correct one misconception about Hon. Mamombe.  Hon. Mamombe was not picked during the Committee Business.  We had completed the business, on our way to Harare and the officers who came were very civil.  They approached me and said they wanted Hon. Mamombe to present herself and make a statement at the charge office.

I took some details of one of them who was leading that group and indicated to them that I did not want any harassment at all of the Hon. Member of Parliament.  The Hon. Member is innocent until proven guilty and the officers did admit to me that they will not in any way harm the Hon. Member and I said you can proceed.

If they had come during the Committee Business, on that score, they would not be allowed to touch her.  In fact, she was not even touched.  It was a verbal communication, neither was she hand-cuffed at all and subsequently, Hon. Gonese phoned me and I gave him the details of the officer who indicated that he could be contacted.

Hon. Gonese indicated that law and order were looking for Hon. Mamombe and communication had taken place with the Officer-in-Charge and I said I hope procedure will be followed and that Hon. Mamombe at any given time should not be harassed at all.

I want to emphasise that what happened to Hon. Mamombe – for those who were there, she was treated with dignity.  When she wanted to have a private conversation with me, she approached me and told me her concerns and so on.  I indicated to her that if there is anything that should happen, let us know, we will deal with the situation.

What I wanted was a clean arrest so that if there is any harassment, I even indicated to the officers that they were going to put the Government into a very invidious position in the process of re-engagement.  We must be civil in our arrest.  This is what I told the officers and as they were leaving, they said, aiwa Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Member ndishefu wedu.  They took her bag from her and carried it themselves. This applies also to Hon. MPs who are also Ministers, they must be approached with some sense of dignity and not arrest them as if they have been tried already and they have been found guilty.  I do not think that is the way we should do things.

HON. Innocent GONESE: I want to confirm that I called you and you gave me very important information which enabled me to communicate with the officer concerned and also to pass the information to the legal practitioner whom we had assigned to represent Hon. Mamombe.

However, I also want to add on some issues which I think will assist us as we move forward to avoid such situations in the future. Hon. Mamombe, through her legal practitioner, Mr Jeremiah Bamu, had communicated with law and order prior to her going to Nyanga as a result of which arrangements had been made for Hon. Mamombe to attend at Harare Central Police Station law and order on Sunday the 3rd of March and this was a matter of concern to us because you had a situation where the Officer-in-Charge had already received communication that Hon. Mamombe, in response to the information that the police wanted to interview her, had already indicated that she was going to attend in the presence of a legal practitioner.

What concerned us was that when she was then picked up in Nyanga, the Officer-in-charge denied that they dispatched a team of officers from Harare Central law and order to go to Nyanga.  They denied that the officer in question was out of law, which is a matter of concern for us.  When we have got such a situation, in terms of the dignity to be afforded to Hon. Members of Parliament and where such arrangements have been made, surely one would have expected that in that situation, they would have waited for the Hon. Member to surrender herself as arranged and only if the Hon. Member had not turned up on Sunday, 3rd March, could they have made other arrangements?

That is one of those aspects where we would expect that officers, law enforcement agencies, will actually afford that dignity to Members of Parliament and allow them or give them an opportunity to cooperate with the police, as had been done in that case which unfortunately was then overtaken by the events whereby Hon. Mamombe was then picked up in Nyanga.  That is all I wanted to add, Mr Speaker.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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