Seasoned novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga says she feared being abducted from police custody when she was arrested for participating in the 31st of July demonstrations.
Dangarembga who is one of the several people that include Fadzayi Mahere who were arrested on the day, said she felt uneasy when the police took long to charge her and only felt relaxed when her lawyers arrived.
“There was a moment when I was concerned because we were not charged at Borrowdale. We sat around a bit at Central, waiting for that to happen. I did not know what was going on and was uncomfortable.
“But all the police staff were courteous. They offered me sadza, which I was grateful to take. Then our lawyer arrived and I relaxed,” she said.
Zimbabwe has had alleged cases of people who have been abducted while in police custody and the recent case is that of three MDC Alliance activists Netsai Marowa, Cecilia Chimbiri and Joanah Mamombe.
Seasoned human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa also told the court that journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was profiled by a mysterious woman around 4 am while in custody but the police are not aware who the woman was.
The multiple-award winning said when she left her house to demonstrate, she thought there was still room for expression in Zimbabwe but was disappointed to find that the authorities are actually oppressive and intolerant.
“I was disappointed when I was arrested while demonstrating. People say Zimbabwean authorities are intolerant and repressive. By going out, I was demonstrating my belief and hope that that judgement was harsh and excessive, that there is space for expression by well-meaning citizens invested in a better Zimbabwe for all.
“I was disappointed to see that the faith, hope and belief which I had in the authorities was unfounded and to realise they are indeed as intolerant and oppressive as many had indicated,” she said.
According to Dangarembga, the demonstration was a success because the citizens expressed themselves against bad rule as was expected by the organisers.
“The organisers wanted the citizens of Zimbabwe to express themselves against alleged looting and corruption by the authorities.
“This was done. Perhaps not to the extent that the organisers wished, but it was done,” she said.
Dangarembga also revealed that she will not be participating in the second wave of demonstrations that have been earmarked for the 10th to the 15th of August due to her bail conditions. Get all COVID-19 statistics for Zimbabwe from COVID-TRACKER