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Women’s Rights Orgs Speak On Joana Mamombe Harassment

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By Lloyd Takawira

A conglomerate of women right’s organisations has deplored the inhumane treatment by prison guards of detained MDC-Alliance youth leader and Harare West MP, Joana Mamombe,  who last week reportedly suffered an acute stomach pain while in her prison cell.

Mamombe was  rushed to a local hospital where she was  expected to get medical attention. However in a video clip that has gone viral, prison guards bugged her insisting that they had been instructed to take her back to prison despite her insisting that she remain there as she was still in pain.

In a statement, the  women’s rights organizations and women-led community based organizations (CBOs) said they are concerned and deeply worried about the recent harassment of Harare West Member of Parliament (MP) Honourable Joana Mamombe by prison officials.

We are deeply worried about the recent harrassment of Harare West MP Honourable Joana Mamombe by prison officials.  A video recording of the brazen inhumane treatment of Hon. Mamombe has since gone viral across social media platforms. In the video, a visibly sick and in pain Hon. Mamombe is shedding tears pleading with prison officials not to move her back to the notorious Chikurubi Prison before she has fully healed. “I am in pain, I am in great pain…don’t move me” pleads a tearful Mamombe to prison officials.

“We have instructions from higher up to take you” is the cold response from a prison official.  “The group of prison guards proceed to manhandle Hon. Mamombe and bundle her into a prison truck and take her to prison,” read the statement.

The women said that despite the presence of journalists, the prison guards couldn’t restraint themselves.

This callous act was carried out in broad daylight in front of cameras without shame or restraint.”  The women further said that the charges facing Mamombe are flimsy as her alleged press conference was held in accordance with WHO guidelines.

The statement said , ” … no court proceedings were affected by the press conference and Hon. Mamombe and her colleagues all observed the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines of social distancing and wearing face masks”.

The women said that they believe that the government of Zimbabwe is using covid-19 as a weapon to persecute political opponents .

The statement said” As WALPE we hold that the charges show that the government of Zimbabwe is weaponising COVID19 to close democratic space.It also disturbing that Hon. Mamombe was arrested and denied bail during the women’s month of March. In addition, it is apparent that Hon. Mamombe has been deliberately and vindictively targeted since her abduction and torture in May 2020. All these brutal acts of repression further close the space for women to effectively and fully participate in politics.”

The women groups said they are calling on the government to release all political prisoners. 

” As women’s rights organizations, we thus call on the government of Zimbabwe to unconditionally and immediately release Hon. Mamombe and all other political prisoners. For Hon. Mamombe, her release is urgent given her deteriorating health condition which requires specialist attention.” said the statement. 

 The Opposition MDC Alliance has mantained that , the government is deliberately arresting it’s members as a way of victimization. 

Speaking to this reporter the MDC Alliance youth assembly spokesperson Mr Stephen Chuma said a the MDC Alliance youths they are demanding  the immediate release from prison of the critically ill Hon Joana Mamombe.

“We demand for their immediate release so that Mamombe can access better health care outside the empty state health facilities. Chikurubi has become worse than Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Concentration Camps and is now a death trap due to its filthy and squalid conditions.” retorted Chuma.

Chuma further threatened the government that should they continue keeping Mamombe they will have to act.

He said , “We would like to warn the regime that the continued caging of Mamombe when she is unwell will definitely invite big trouble to their doorsteps.”.

The ruling Zanu PF party has mantained that , members of the opposition are inviting the full wrath of the law by becoming lawless. 

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