Presidential spokesperson George Charamba lambasted police officers who arrested nine women for booing First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa.

Charamba, posting on his ghost X handle, Donzamusoro007 said the First Lady and police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga both condemned the arrests.

“Both the First Lady and Police Commissioner General agreed the officers on the ground overreacted,” he said.

He said the First Lady instructed that the charges levelled against the women be dropped.

“On the instructions of the First Lady, all charges were withdrawn yesterday,” he said.

The nine are Nester Chatiwana, aged 41, Panashe Machekanzondo, 19, Winnet Sithole, 19, Maria Choto, 49, Esnath Choto, 33, Ellen Rujuwa, 28, Faith Chidhakwa, 30, Patience Matasva, 35 and Joyce Mashingaidza, 29.

The group was arrested on Wednesday last week and detained at Mutare Central Police Station, before being charged with disorderly conduct in a public place.

Their arrest prompted the intervention of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) which subsequently secured their release on bail on Friday.

Mutare magistrate Prisca Manhibi ordered their return to court on 30 April 2024.

In court, prosecutors claimed that the nine women, who reside in various villages located near Watsomba Business Centre, turned disruptive after failing to access some groceries and clothes, which were being doled out by the president’s wife as part of her charitable work.

Prosecutors alleged the women, who followed proceedings while seated on the ground, stood up and started booing the First Lady in an expression of disgruntlement for failing to access their own share of the largesse.

Their arrest was said to have been ordered by Mnangagwa herself.

Zwnews/ Zimlive