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Zimbabwe: peace prayer days marred by arrests of human rights activists

Three official ‘peace prayer days’ were designated by Zimbabwe’s National Unity government  last weekend.

Minister of State, John Nkomo called on Zimbabweans to “go to their churches or other religious places and at the end of these three days of reflection we shall further the scope of national dialogue.”

However on Saturday, 12 members of the Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) campaign were arrested in a bus on their way to a peace vigil which took place in the city centre to show solidarity for victims of political persecution and violence. 

Three other people, not associated with the ROHR group, were also arrested en-route, because police thought they were part of the demonstration.

The 15 people were detained and interrogated for ten hours before they were released. A small peaceful ROHR demonstration in the city centre was broken up police.

ROHR’s spokesperson Edgar Chikuvire told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the arrests “casts shadows on any hopes that national healing can ever be achieved when people are unnecessarily arrested for peacefully expressing their displeasure with Government processes.”

“There cannot be peace without national healing and that cannot come before truth, justice and compensation to victims of political violence,” Chikuvire said.  “That should be approached holistically and whole heartedly rather than calling for symbolic days and monumental moments celebrating ‘new found peace and unity,’ while violence against civilians still continues.”

Source: MISNA/SW Radio Africa