Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition calls for an end to abductions

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By Mary Taruvinga

CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition has expressed concern over the continued deterioration of the country’s rights situation under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

This follows the Wednesday abduction and torture of MDC legislator Joanna Mamombe and two party activists by suspected state agents.

The three were allegedly seized from the hands of police after they had been briefly arrested for staging a flash demonstration over hunger in Harare’s Warren Park suburb same day.

They were later dumped by their captors in Bindura to relate tales of horrendous experiences in the hands of their tormentors.

In a statement Friday, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said the shock abductions were signs the country’s fragile democracy was becoming worse.

“The recent abduction, torture, inhumane treatment of three MDC Alliance activists, Harare West Legislator Joana Mamombe, MDC Youth Vice Chairperson Cecilia Chimbiri and Deputy Organising Secretary Netsai Marova points to shrinking democratic space,” said the organisation’s spokesperson, Marvellous Khumalo in a statement.

He added, “Zimbabwe has a disturbing record of enforced disappearances of opposition and civic society activists which happen in almost similar fashion.

“Reports indicate that most are being abducted by masked and heavily armed men who torture them and later dump them in the middle of nowhere.”

Khumalo said “this is reminiscent of the (ex-President Robert) Mugabe era and bears testimony to the fact that Zimbabwe remains stuck in the dark past.”

During Mugabe’s era, many people who went against the government were abducted and tortured.

Journalist-turned-activist Itai Dzamara disappeared with no trace 2015 after he had staged several one-man demonstrations against the once feared leader.

In light of these circumstances, the civic organisations umbrella body demanded an end to torture, abductions, enforced disappearances, murder, rape and maiming of civilians by the military and state security agents.

They also demanded decriminalisation of civil society work, political activism as well as union leaders and an end to arbitrary arrests.