Zimbabwe opposition member of parliament arrested for wearing a jacket with colors of the Zimbabwean flag

By John Cassim

HARARE, Zimbabwe

An opposition lawmaker was arrested Wednesday after he wore a jacket in the colors of the Zimbabwean flag in parliament.

Costa Machingauta, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), wore the jacket in defiance of a ban on the “illegal” use of the national flag, which has become a symbol of opposition to President Robert Mugabe.

At least 20 police officers dragged Machingauta out of the chamber after he refused to leave on the orders of Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona.

The ZimEye news portal later reported he had been detained at Harare Central police station.

Opposition lawmakers refused to continue with the parliamentary agenda. “Until we hear from you as the chair of the house why the police had to be called to the chambers illegally, we as the opposition members are not going to respect your authority,” MDC Deputy President Nelson Chamisa said.

The green, gold, red, black and white flag was recently adopted by preacher Evan Mawarire’s #ThisFlag movement as a mark of opposition to 92-year-old Mugabe’s 36 years of alleged misrule.

On Tuesday, a Harare shopkeeper was fined the equivalent of $20 for selling replicas of the flag in contravention of a September ban on its manufacture, sale and distribution.

 

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