By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE MDC Bulawayo provincial executive has claimed that its members are now living in fear of abductions after three party activists were reportedly seized from their homes on Tuesday night and tortured by suspected State security agents following a foiled anti-government demonstration.
According to the opposition party, there has been a systematic crackdown targeting its members since the failed Monday demonstration in the city.
MDC activist Goodson Phiri was allegedly abducted by suspected security agents on Monday. Phiri was left nursing injuries from the assault. He claimed the matter was reported at Tshabalala Police Station, but could not provide the RRB number.
On Tuesday night, the party said masked men kidnapped Wilbert Verenga and Tadiwanashe Marumberi, the father and younger brother of Mpopoma deputy youth treasurer Charles Verenga, respectively.
“They took my younger brother and father, tortured them and dumped them at Richmond bushes. I am now living in fear,” Verenga said in an interview.
Mpopoma legislator Charles Moyo confirmed the abductions in his constituency.
“I have been to Mpilo Central Hospital where Wilbert and Tadiwanashe are admitted, receiving treatment after they were abducted by masked men. They were seriously beaten, and they sustained head injuries,” Moyo said.
MDC provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza also expressed concern over the said abductions. He could not provide statistics on the number of party members who had met a similar fate.
“We are very worried about these abductions and are urging our top leadership to be extra vigilant at this moment and time. We urge members to exercise vigilance because we are dealing with a murderous regime,” Chirowodza said.
However, Bulawayo police acting spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said they had not yet received reports of the alleged abductions.
“I have not yet heard such a report,” Ncube said.
Government has often been accused of using abductions and enforced disappearances of critics to silence dissent.
The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearance has, on several occasions, urged government to ratify the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, saying enforced disappearances are tools of repressive governments.