By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FOREIGN AFFAIRS minister Sibusiso Moyo says the alleged abduction and torture of MDC MP Joanna Mamombe and two party activists could not be divorced from an alleged pattern of stage-managed incidents orchestrated by government critics to hoodwink the world into the false belief the Zanu PF led administration violated human rights.
Mamombe and activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were allegedly seized from the hands of the police over a week by suspected state agents and driven outside Harare to be subjected to acts of physical and sexual abuse.
They were being accused of attempts to overthrow the Zanu PF led government through a protest they had staged earlier during the day in Harare’s Warren Park suburb together with a group of other party activists.
The shock incident has spotlighted on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s half-hearted pledges to dump the abusive record associated with the ruling Zanu PF administration.
In a statement Monday, Moyo said government took the abduction allegations seriously.
“Government is gravely concerned about serious allegations made by three female MDC leaders, MDC Member of parliament Joanna Mamombe along with Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova to the effect that they were subjected to abductions, torture, forced disappearance and sexual abuse at the hands of suspected State Security agents.
“The government would like to assure the public and the international community that it is taking these allegations seriously,” Moyo said.
The one-time top-ranking military officer said, “investigations will be conducted with the prime objective of exposing and prosecuting the perpetrators if any or exposing the involvement of the possible third force”.
“These allegations are particularly grave in that they involve alleged violations of the rights for the girl child, a vulnerable group of our society which this government is on record as resolutely promoting and protecting,” he said.
Moyo expressed government’s dismay in perceived conclusions drawn by the media and the diplomatic community the three activists were abused by the state.
“Whilst the relevant agencies of state are fully seized with the matter and are already investigating all aspects of the allegations made by the three ladies in question, including the circumstances surrounding the unauthorised staging of a demonstration during the national lockdown in deliberate violation of S/I 77 of 2020, it is most disconcerting to note that some sections of the media and even within the diplomatic community appear to have already concluded the Zimbabwean government was responsible for the alleged abuses.
“Surely, they would serve the cause of justice by allowing the law to take its course and to wait the outcome of the investigations rather than jump to conclusions or wantonly ascribe culpability.”
Moyo added, “Although the government has refrained from drawing its own conclusion, it is difficult to ignore the glaring similarities which exist between this recent alleged incident and several such allegations in the past designed to soil the image of the government and indeed the Nation, and divert attention from the ongoing implosion and ever shifting allegiances within some political formations in the opposition.
“As has been the case with several past-alleged abductions, the current dramatic episode just happened to coincide with major international and regional events, the convening of the SADC-Troika Summit and impending SADC Council of Ministers virtual meeting.”