Harare – POLICE yesterday arrested and detained for a few hours at Harare Central Police Station two people, Natasha Dowell and Tawanda Maguze, who are linked to the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ), allegedly for holding a public meeting without notifying them.
GALZ Director Chesterfied Samba described the arrest as the usual targeting of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the country.
“We think that it’s the usual harassment that goes on between the State and GALZ where the state is trying to intimidate us,” Samba said.
Dowell, a volunteer youth coordinator, was arrested allegedly for contravening Section 25(5) of the Public Order Security Act (POSA) chapter 11:17.
The police indicated that they would proceed by way of summons after making the GALZ official sign a warned and cautioned statement.
Tawanda Maguze, who had been arrested along with Dowell, for facilitating training in digital storytelling for multimedia content at the meeting, was released without any charges.
Dowell, who was being represented by Tonderai Bhasatara, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), denied contravening the law and insisted that GALZ did not have to comply with the provision of POSA as it is in violation of the new constitution.
About 50 members of the GALZ have been arrested and detained by the police since 2010 on various allegations, but none of them have been convicted.
Police, at one time in the company of a soldier, have severally raided GALZ offices in vain attempt to lay hands on subversive material and drugs.
Meanwhile, the state has filed court papers seeking the rescission of the High Court order issued in January 2014 to return GALZ property, which was confiscated in 2010.
The property was confiscated after police charged GALZ chairperson Martha Tholanah for allegedly running an unregistered organisation in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO).
Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba who had presided over the case at the High Court ruled that the organisation did not have to register under the Act, ordering the State to return of its property.