By Tariro Senderayi
HUMAN rights activist Linda Masarira says she has decided to sue Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for illegal detention as a way of protecting activists from suffering the same fate in future.
Masarira year remained in detention last year for about 89 days while her alleged accomplices were given US$100 bail three days after their arrest and efforts by her lawyer Obey Shava to gain her release dragged unnecessarily.
According to the State, Masarira had a warrant of arrest in Mutare and could not be released, but was supposed to be taken to Mutare Magistrate Court to answer to her charges; however Zimbabwe Prison Services had no fuel for the trip and she remained in custody.
Shava tried all options that were available to him, including travelling to Mutare on countless occasions to get the warrant of arrest cancelled but it was in vain and he even pledged to buy ZPS fuel.
In an audio recording Masarira said justice must be done and people should not be allowed to do as they please when the country has a constitution that speaks to one’s rights.
“I have decided to sue because when I got my High Court order it espoused that my detention then was illegal and it was a rigorous process to get bail. I can’t let these people get away with doing as they please when we have a constitution that speaks to one’s right to liberty and access to bail, because we have to protect activists in the future. This is a bold statement to say hamutyise anaMnangagwa, Chihuri haatyise and Chombo haatyise. They have to be sued when they are wrong.
“What they did was illegal as they prejudiced me of nearly 89 days when I was behind bars. Two weeks of which I was in solitary confinement with no food. Rightfully I have to claim damages because when I was released my digestive system has never been the same and not forgetting the trauma my children suffered because of my absence.
“I think Zanu PF is overrated, Zimbabweans have to learn to bring public officials to account. Since time immemorial politicians, activists and anyone who dared go against the regime has been intimidated, harassed, arrested and prejudiced. We cannot allow this lawlessness to continue happening because of fear of the unknown,” she said.
In her lawsuit, Masarira is demanding about US$150 000 from the Mnangagwa who is also Minister responsible for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.