Zimbabwe: 15 Pastors Arrested in Chitungwiza

Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe - At least 15 church leaders were arrested from their homes on Monday for allegedly attending a prayer meeting in Chitungwiza without police approval.

A statement from the Mutambara MDC said: "The pastors were initially picked up on Saturday at the venue of the service for allegedly attending an unsanctioned meeting and were subsequently released after paying fines of Z$40 000 each. They were surprisingly picked up again last night from their homes and were taken to Makoni police station where they were detained."

Legislators Job Sikhala and Goodrich Chimbaira had also attended the Saturday prayer meeting. Among those arrested are Bishop Samuel Pasula, Reverend Mabhena, Reverend White, Reverend Gordon Chinogurei and Reverend Patrick Tole.

The MDC said: "To even suggest that the pastors should have sought permission to hold a prayer meeting is symptomatic of a government that has become so paranoid that the very idea of an opposition legislator attending such a meeting sends it in delirium."

We could not get a comment from the police.