Govt pokes holes in Magombeyi abduction claims

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By Idah Mhetu

GOVERNMENT on Wednesday moved to poke holes in Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) acting president Peter Magombeyi’s claims of abduction by alleged State security agents.

Magombeyi was reported abducted in Harare some two weeks ago after the doctors welfare group had embarked on a crippling job action to demand a wage review and better working conditions.

The young doctor emerged Thursday last week claiming torture in the hands of his captors.

He was taken into hospital for treatment amid claims he was disoriented by the trauma he went through.

However, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa Wednesday issued a statement dismissing the 26-year-old’s claims.

Mutsvangwa said Magombeyi emerged “lucid and jovially speaking on his phone”, contrary to claims the ordeal left him very traumatised and unable to remember all what transpired around him.

“On the 19th of September, police received information that Dr Magombeyi had been located,” Mutsvangwa said.

“They tried to call him and he answered the phone stating he was in Nyabira (40km near Harare).

“Police assembled a team to go and locate him. The police found him jovially speaking on the phone, lucid and coherent.”

The government minister said Magombeyi was “well kempt and groomed indicating very good self-care”.

She added, “It is also important to note that by this point, Magombeyi had lucidly given interviews in three languages interchangeably.

“Part of his version was that he was unharmed and that he had generalised body pains.”

The minister said Magombeyi on his way to Harare, kept on communicating to people on his phone.

She said the 26-year-old’s statement on the day he departed his home to face the alleged abduction differed from what he later told the police when he got found.

Said Mutsvangwa, “In his statement signed with the police in the presence of his father and his lawyer, Magombeyi said he had left home to go for a drink with ‘the boys’.

“He refused to state where he was abducted and the circumstances of his release which, to this point, he has not disclosed to the police.

“Magombeyi signed his statement to the police in the presence of both lawyers and his father.”

Mutsvangwa added that Magombeyi’s father was so concerned of his son’s well-being, prompting him to hire a security company to help guard him in hospital.

At that time, said the minister, police saw it fit to deliver on their constitutional mandate by providing their own details for Magombeyi’s protection.

Government is keen to dispel continued rights violation claims by its critics in the wake of several activists reportedly abducted and left for dead by unknown persons.