THERE has been a worrying increase of reports of abductions of supporters of opposition political parties that have rocked the country for the past two decades.
According to reports, the abducted members of opposition political parties were tortured. Some have reportedly been killed.
According political and human rights activists, law enforcemenat authorities have handled these cases badly, showing lack of will and commitment to investigate and arrest alleged perpetrators. This a cause for grave concern.
The latest is the alleged abduction of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament Takudzwa Ngadziore by suspected state security agents.
The CCC has blamed Zanu PF for perpetrating the abductions, while the ruling Zanu PF party has accused CCC of staging them.
Therefore, the continued bickering has created a toxic political terrain.
Zanu PF acting information director Farai Marapira said the CCC abductions were staged to tarnish the image of the country.
“We all know the CCC (is) very excitable and very much into theatrics rather than politics. We know there have been a lot of cases of supposed abductions, which have turned out not to be abductions but malicious attempts to taint the image of Zanu PF,” he said.
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“So, with this in light, one can be forgiven for not trusting or believing in what the opposition has said because it has been proved that they intentionally lie and misrepresent issues just for a propaganda advantage.
“Especially when we have got international engagements of a diplomatic nature.
“The recent one was just a day or two before President Emmerson Mnangagwa was going on a Sadc mission. Every time these things happen, an international engagement is about to happen. So, we don’t believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen but not all the time,” Marapira said.
He said the opposition was using the same modus operandi on abductions.
“They have a culture of violence within themselves. Remember, this is the same Nelson Chamisa (supporters) who wanted to burn Thokozani Khupe and Douglas Mwonzora in a hut at Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral,” Marapira said.
“He was willing to cause death at a funeral to get power and ever since he took power, his leadership skills are disorganised,” he further alleged.
Marapira’s utterances come shortly after the murder of an opposition activist Bishop Tapfumaneyi Masaya, who was abducted while campaigning for Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi in Harare.
Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed this week that Masaya was found dead at the intersection of Arcturus and Labhor roads in the Cleveland area in Harare.
“The police is currently conducting comprehensive investigations on the circumstances surrounding Masaya's death at the same time waiting for the full post-mortem report,” Nyathi said in a statement. CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba said Zimbabweans were now at a point of choosing between life and death.
“We condemn the brutal murder of one of our members, Masaya, after he was attacked during our door-to-door campaign,” Siziba said.
“The by-elections recently held in Gutu confirm that Zimbabwe is no longer holding elections and these are just rituals without democracy because an election without choice is not an election.
“Zimbabwe is now being forced to choose between death and life. When you vote for Zanu PF in Zimbabwe, you are voting for your life. And if you vote for your choice or your alternative, you are voting for death. As far as we are concerned, there are no elections in this country. And that is what must be fixed,” he added.
Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya, on the other hand, said Zanu PF was behind the alleged abduction of opposition party members.
“You know the evil that prevails in and pervades Zanu PF in their pursuit for political power dates back to the Gukurahundi genocide. They repeated their murderous exploits in 2008 and they keep killing, abducting and arresting opposition activists,” he said.
“Whether they deny it, the evidence is there for all to see. In fact, would they ever accept?”
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said a professional impartial judiciary can adjudicate on the matter.
“I am not sure how one can authoritatively comment on accusations (by CCC) and counter-accusations (by Zanu PF) in the absence of hard evidence either way,” he said.
“A professional police and independent, impartial judiciary are the only ones who can adjudicate on this matter. I am afraid I am unable to help any further.”
Dozens of pro-democracy campaigners, trade unionists and opposition officials have allegedly been abducted by suspected state security agents in recent years.
Most have been released after several hours, badly beaten, stripped, threatened or mistreated.
In 2020, United Nations human rights experts called on Zimbabwe to immediately end a reported pattern of disappearances and torture that appear aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.
The urgent call came after three female opposition activists — Member of Parliament Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — were allegedly stopped at a police checkpoint in Harare and subsequently abducted, tortured and sexually assaulted.
The three women were going to participate in a peaceful protest organised on May 13 2020 by the Alliance Youth Assembly of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change.
After almost 48 hours, the women were dumped at a marketplace.
A few days later, they were charged with violating Covid-19 regulations on public gatherings and for intending to promote public violence and breach of peace.