Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
ZANU-PF yesterday said claims by three MDC- Alliance officials that they were abducted and sexually abused after holding an illegal demonstration on May 13 is a diversion of attention from the party’s leadership squabbles.
The three MDC-Alliance members Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova claimed that after the illegal demo in Warren Park, Harare, held in violation of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, they were taken by state security agents and tortured before being dumped in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.
At a Press conference at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday, Zanu-PF acting secretary for information and publicity Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the three were not cooperating with the police on their claims suggesting that they were more interested in propaganda to soil Zanu-PF and Government than pursuing the truth.
Cde Chinamasa said the ruling party welcomes the position taken by the Government to investigate the allegations to their fullest conclusion in order to unmask the circumstances which led to the alleged disappearance of the three MDC-Alliance activists.
“Zanu-PF, its Government and membership abhors torture, any forms of forced disappearances and any form of harassment or violation of the rights of individuals under what ever form and that is why the country under the leadership of Zanu-PF is a signatory and State Party to various International Instruments and Protocols which obligate the State to adhere to the observation of human rights and freedoms,” he said.
Cde Chinamasa however said the matter of the three activists has raised a lot of questions than answers.
“First, the alleged abductions followed what indeed was a needless political exercise in Warren Park which happened against the Covid-19 lockdown regulations as provided for in Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020.
“At a time when the whole world is seized with containing the spread of Covid-19, with Zimbabwe doing well at least thus far, it does not make sense why the opposition activists decided to endanger the lives of communities in Warren Park by engaging in such a needless demonstration,” said Cde Chinamasa.
He said the story follows the script of Dr Peter Magombeyi whose abduction claims turned out to be stage managed.
“The story line by the opposition party is that the alleged abductions were purportedly in retaliation for the illegal demonstrations that took place in Warren Park on 13 May but the images from the demonstrations circulating show the presence of known male elements who claim to have organised such demonstrations alongside the three ladies but the world is not told why the three males were not arrested, let alone violated,” said Cde Chinamasa.
“The major question is why could the ladies have been the targets while the male organisers of the regrettable demonstration were left out?”
Cde Chinamasa said the fact that a faction of the splitting opposition party accused the ruling party of being behind the alleged abductions, points to a rehearsed script aimed at evoking people’s emotions in their favour thereby diverting attention from the ongoing internal fights.
He said while the world was told that the three activists suffered serious injuries at the hands of their “captors”, a story parroted on social media by some foreign embassies who have in the past peddled similar falsehoods, they are yet to show the said injuries disfiguring their faces in front of cameras.
“We take strong objection to these tired attempts to present Zanu-PF, its leadership and our Government as a villain. The timing and manner in which these alleged abductions were raised leaves a lot to be desired. It is clear that these alleged abductions were intended to coincide with the convening by the President and First Secretary of the Party, His Excellency, Cde ED Mnangagwa of the Sadc Troika summit on Mozambique which was attended by regional leaders.
“The allegations also happened at the time the US Committee on Foreign Relations was preparing to meet to deliberate on the removal of Agri-Bank and IDBZ from the illegal sanctions imposed on this country at the request of the MDC and its supporters,” said Cde Chinamasa.
“We therefore have strong reasons to suspect that this was an attempt to replay the same tricks in order to sustain an orchestrated agenda to smear the Government of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF, and its leadership.”
Cde Chinamasa said it was saddening that the three were not cooperating in investigations to their allegations choosing rather to communicate to NG0s, hostile news media elements and social media.
He said the three need to understand that the allegations they have made are serious and deserve serious attention by law enforcement agents and the ruling party will not allow the allegations to die a natural death.
“We insist upon thorough investigations so as to bring such to finality. Failure by the three lady complainants to cooperate with the police will lead to no other conclusion but that the alleged allegations are fake, stage- managed, cooked and manufactured at Harvest House. We also draw the attention of the three lady complainants that making fake and stage-managed allegations is criminal conduct,” said Cde Chinamasa.
He said to date, neither the three nor family members or their friends have made a formal report to the police suggesting that they don’t want the truth to come out.
Cde Chinamasa said the party welcomes the position of Government as expressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, that diplomatic missions must always exercise their duties diligently and avoid commenting on such serious issues out of hearsay and social media sensationalism.
“It is always advisable to wait for the outcomes of investigations so that they can comment authoritatively and factually rather than rely on unsubstantiated claims of individuals with entrenched and vested interests in cases such as these ones,” said Cde Chinamasa.