Machisa attacks family, civil society mates

HARARE - As divisions continue to rock civil society, Zimrights director Okay Machisa has blasted his colleagues whom he said celebrated when he was jailed for two weeks.

Machisa, who is fresh from a remand prison stint, told the Daily News some within the civil society movement are disturbed with the rise of ZimRights in the past few years.

Along with members of his organisation, Machisa stands accused of manufacturing fake voter registration certificates.

Last week the towering Machisa, who openly wept in court as he battled for freedom, was freed on a $500 bail.

Touched by his plight Zimbabweans and even the international community celebrated his release, but not everyone was pleased, apparently.

“There are certain family members that rejoice when a person like me is jailed.

“There are family members, certain individuals I work with, even friends that I relate to in civil society who rejoiced, who were very happy that Machisa has been arrested,” he said.

Machisa says the fact that he has hogged the limelight has caused consternation among friends and even some of his close family members who are jealous of him and his organisation.   

“They are aware of how Zimrights is growing, how Machisa is pushing the agenda of human rights in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The distinction between civil society and MDC has always been difficult to make since the latter was born from the struggle for human rights and there are some people now “who are brainwashed” to the extent that they believe “Machisa is a card-carrying MDC member”, he said.

“Some (people) who are brainwashed rejoiced because they thought a member of the MDC has been arrested.
“Let it be known that Machisa does not belong to any party,” he said, adding that civil society risked being infiltrated because of divisions.

“I want to encourage human rights defenders to be united. Where we have gaps, the enemy will attack, where we gossip, an enemy will attack, where you play with an enemy, that enemy will infiltrate.

“It is time for us to unite and fight for the fundamental freedoms of people of Zimbabwe. It is not time to fight Machisa. It is time to fight for the democratisation of the country,” he said.

Human rights activist Okay Machisa. - Staff Writer

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