Mentioning this name to anyone who is an avid follower of Zimbabwean news what quickly comes to mind is human rights. With an outstanding law practice background spanning almost thirty years Beatrice stood out to be one of the most fearless women Zimbabwe has ever produced. Even her profile on wikipedia portrays a history of activism complemented with multiple awards for her work. Today she finds herself being bundled into a prison van and wearing a green prison garb similar to those worn by female prisoners in Zimbabwe. Some of the women who wore this same uniform are now free after she successfully defended their rights in the courts of law.
Caught up in her line of work while trying to defends the rights of Prime Minister’s staff during a police raid has led her to appear before a local magistrate at a lower court answering charges of obstruction of justice after a High Court order for her release was ignored. Prison time weakens some and makes other come out strong and I believe Beatrice’s incarceration will make her strong.
I used to read about Beatrice Mtetwa in the papers and my first encounter with this fearless woman was when I found myself at the notorious law and order section at Harare Central Police station. It was in the middle of a grueling and nerve breaking moment when she arrived in the company of members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights team and I could see hope and confidence coming back to the faces of my colleagues, both men and women. Even though she was not assigned to our case she managed to come in to where we were being grilled to check on us. It was a tense situation, which no man would want to be associated with at that time but Beatrice’s presence changed the tense atmosphere.
In Zimbabwe lawyers like Beatrice have managed to defend successfully the rights of the vulnerable and as the accused yesterday she had her rights fought for by fellow human rights defenders. And if you value the work she has been doing show your support by signing a petition to set her free.