HARARE – MDC Alliance activist Makomborero Haruzivishe on Saturday walked out of prison to jubilant scenes after 10 months of pre-trial incarceration.
The 29-year-old was granted bail on appeal by the High Court on Friday, but his release was delayed by more than 36 hours over what prison officials described as a “clerical error” in his warrant of release.
Haruzivishe’s supporters and family broke into song and dance as he walked out of Harare Remand Prison after 10 months and 22 days, by his count. Haruzivishe briefly spoke to reporters and was driven away in a convertible BMW with its roof retracted. A convoy of vehicles honking their horns made their way into central Harare as onlookers cheered.
“The physical pain, the mental pain, I managed to ignore it because we know that it’s not an easy road. Great sacrifices will be made,” Haruzivishe told reporters. “Others have made bigger sacrifices. Others have paid the ultimate price. This was just prison, it in no way changed my views.”
Haruzivishe, described as a “political prisoner” by his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, has three pending criminal charges relating to public order offences. He was convicted and jailed for 14 months in a fourth case but the High Court granted him bail pending appeal.
“Getting into prison for this prolonged period enabled me to see that we have a bigger fight than we actually imagined, especially in our justice system,” Haruzivishe said. “We need to be even more radical in terms of organising, in terms of educating the masses for them to understand the problem that we are in – chiefly state capture by the military.”
Haruzivishe’s incarceration inspired internet hashtag campaigns as supporters demanded his release. Some wore black to protest his pre-trial detention.