HARARE - THE heads of the umbrella body for Zimbabwe's non-governmental organisations were arrested on Sunday amid signs of the disintegration of the country's fragile coalition government.
Cephas Zinumhwe, chief executive of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango), and its chairperson, Dadirai Chikwengo, were arrested in Victoria Falls after the organisation's meeting, spokesperson Farai Ngirande said.
Ngirande said they were accused of "holding a public political meeting without approval" - a claim Nango rejects - and the two leaders were held by police overnight.
They were due to appear in court in Victoria Falls yesterday, while President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were scheduled to meet in Harare to discuss the paralysis in their eight-month-old unity government.
Ten days ago, Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change announced a partial withdrawal from the government, saying Mugabe's Zanu-PF was "a dishonest and unreliable partner".
The MDC ministers are continuing to run their portfolios.
The Nango arrests are part of a fresh clampdown on the MDC and activists, which some see as a reprisal for the boycott.
Nango represents an alliance of human rights, welfare, gender and poverty relief organisations.
On Saturday, a police contingent, claiming to be searching for weapons, ransacked an MDC residence and assaulted its workers. - Sapa-DPA