Confirmation Of Zim Crisis; Activist Arrested For Soliciting For Signatures To Petition U.N. To Intervene In Zim Crisis
23 September 2020

Paul Nyathi

A MEMBER of the pressure group Zimbabwe People Power Movement (ZPPM) has been arrested for allegedly undermining the State after he was found in Dete soliciting residents to sign a petition alleging that there was a crisis in the country that needed international intervention.

Simasimpe Reeds Tshuma (25) of 7619 Mkhosana in Victoria Falls had travelled to Dete for the purpose of making members of the public sign a petition calling on the United Nations and other countries to declare a humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe. About 600 people had signed the petition when Tshuma was arrested on September 12.

Tshuma was not asked to plead to a charge of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State when he appeared before Matabeleland North magistrate-in-charge Mrs Sekai Chiundura.

He was released on $5 000 bail and ordered not to interfere with witnesses or visit Dete where he was arrested, reside at his given Victoria Falls address and to report fortnightly to Criminal Investigation Department in Victoria Falls as part of his bail conditions.

The accused was remanded to October 19 to allow for further investigations into the matter.

Prosecuting Mr John Chisango Mutyakaviri said the petition alleged that more than 8 million Zimbabweans are in dire need of food and humanitarian support and require urgent food, medicines, and international aid to help recover from the effects of the devastating situation.

“Sometime during the month of June, the accused person joined the Zimbabwe People Power Movement (ZPPM) WhatsApp group where they used to communicate on issues to do with the economic situation in Zimbabwe saying there was catastrophic challenge that needed urgent help or intervention of United Nations.

“In August the accused received a bunch of petition leaflets with a communiqué from ZPPM to be signed by Zimbabweans to call for the United Nations and its member states, sister states and other world leaders to consider declaring the state of affairs in Zimbabwe a humanitarian disaster. On 12 September the accused left Victoria Falls for Dete where he went around soliciting for people to sign the petition,” said Mr Mutyakaviri.

He said Tshuma had managed to get 600 signatures in Dete’s Mtuya and Soweto suburbs when police arrested him after a tip-off.

The petition papers had space for citizens to write their names, national identity numbers and signature.