By Leopold Munhende
MDC Alliance and several political commentators have roundly dismissed as cheap propaganda, a ZBC documentary flighted this week, purportedly exposing as fake, the abduction of Harare West MP Johanne Mamombe.
The legislator and two other female party activists, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri were abducted by suspected state security agents at a police roadblock by suspected state agents in April this year, shortly after taking part in a flash demonstration in Warren Park, Harare.
After the alleged kidnapping, the trio was severely tortured and sexually abused by its captors before being dumped the next day in rural Bindura.
The three were traumatised and had to be admitted into a private Harare hospital where they spent weeks receiving treatment.
The abduction and torture made international media news and drew wide condemnation against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
While admitted in hospital, the three opposition activists were charged for allegedly lying about their abduction. The matter is still before the courts.
This week, the country’s sole broadcaster, ZBC aired a 15-minute documentary in which the CIO was exposing the “fake” abduction claims.
However, the documentary has been condemned as cheap propaganda by observers who accused ZBC of being an accomplice in atrocities carried out by the state.
“It is an aggravation of a crime against humanity for the same CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) that abducted and tortured Mamombe, Chimbiri, and Marova to produce an outrageous video to cover up its atrocity and for ZBC to be an accomplice to the atrocity by broadcasting the cover-up,” said exiled former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo.
MDC Alliance national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere said the state was wasting the country’s resources abducting citizens then hiring artistes to clean its mess.
“All the time and resources spent abducting citizens then hiring voice-over artistes and deep fake technology gurus to cover the mess is energy that should be spent fixing the nation. Being ruled by a rogue regime is a curse. The people deserve better,” she said.
“In the FAKE video, the actors used a BMW 3 Series vehicle instead of a Benz C200. This is why the images of the vehicle are blurred and the number plates aren’t visible in the botched Belgravia scene.
“On 2 May, @edmnangagwa announced lockdown measures that meant all businesses closed at 3 pm. Why does fake CCTV footage lie that the #MDCTrio bought Chicken Inn at 1659hrs on 13 May? Stop lying. Stop making fake videos. Stop abducting citizens.
“The state media fake news onslaught against the #MDCTrio continue. Don’t believe these crass lies. They’re calculated to persecute these women for reporting their abduction, torture, and sexual assault. The idea is to break their spirits. Stay strong ladies. #WeAreWithYou,” added Mahere.
Former Chivi South MP, Killer Zivhu who was recently expelled from Zanu PF also dismissed the documentary as nothing, but a narration, pictures, and arrows before urging the government to concentrate on reviving the country’s economy.
“Saw the video, it is 90% is just voice, street pictures and some arrows pointing roads. Why not using the same technology to trace (Itai) Dzamara and the rest? Guys concentrate on improving the economy vanhu vatambura nenhamo (people are suffering),” he said.
However, Information Ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana maintained the video was authentic.
“We have always maintained that these abductions are fake, I have just seen a disgusting video showing how that trio set out to malign their country through fakery. How many of these so-called abductions are nothing but atrocity propaganda?”