Heal Zimbabwe strongly condemns the unlawful arrest of #ThisFlag Movement Founder, Pastor Evan Mawarire. Pastor Mawarire was arrested while preaching at his church on 24 September 2017, and is being charged with subverting a constitutionally elected Government as defined in Section 22 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The charge emanates from a video he circulated on Saturday 23 September 2017 on social media over Zimbabwe’s worsening economic crisis.
Heal Zimbabwe notes that the infringement of citizens’ rights such as unlawful arrests and detentions are a violation of citizens’ fundamental human rights as provided for in the constitution. The arrest of Mawarire comes hardly a year after the Government solemnly committed to foster a culture of promoting and protecting human rights during a United Nations Human Rights Universal Periodic Review council that was held in Switzerland in November 2016.
Heal Zimbabwe implores the Government to desist from using arbitrary arrests as a way of silencing citizens from expressing their fundamental human rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression. Section 61 of the Constitution stipulates that (i) Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes (a) freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information (b) freedom of artistic expression and scientific research and creativity. Instead of using unlawful arrests against citizens, Government must rather address the economic challenges bedeviling the country which have led to the spiraling of prices on basic commodities and shortage of fuel. The organization further calls upon the Government to curb the mushrooming black market that is creating unnecessary panic and anxiety amongst the populace. HZT further calls for the unconditional release of Pastor Mawarire.