“IF Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) was operating during the era of Mbuya Nehanda and fought for the protection of political and human rights activists, our national heroine of the First Chimurenga would not have been hanged by the settlers.”
These were the first words of a smiling opposition MDC activist Tungamirai Madzokere as he walked out of the gates of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison late Friday afternoon after spending eight years in jail.
He was in the company of fellow jailmate, party activist Last Maengahama.
The two were convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison each on charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare in 2011.
They were, however, acquitted Friday morning by Supreme Court judges who ruled they did not murder the police officer.
“Our lawyers fought a protracted legal battle and this acquittal means a lot to me, my family, and all those who stood by us from day one,” Madzokere told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.
At the time of his arrest, he was a Harare City councillor.
“I am not angry at anyone because this is politics, the hazards associated with the game, this has been happening since time immemorial. Many nationalists suffered the same way.
“The Zanu PF regime leaders were at one point arrested by the previous colonial regimes for their beliefs in a new Zimbabwe. Let me be honest with you! For as long as I am alive, I will not quit politics because it’s my belief in seeing change in Zimbabwe. Everyone is a politician for as long as they are breathing but different opinions.”
The opposition MDC activist added: “Politics for me is a calling and it will not be removed from me by any incarceration. Otherwise, imprisonment makes you a better activist.
“I now even understand some of the challenges that inmates face and even the lives of prison officers better. I will pursue this so that their voices are heard and they get assisted.
“Let me also say when we got convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail at first, I panicked but the support from the lawyers, family members, and our comrades in the fight for change, gave me hope that one day we will be free.”