Zimbabwe: Abductions - Churches Say Govt Putting Citizens' Lives in Danger

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
18 September 2019

GOVERNMENT is putting citizens' lives in great danger by failing to address the country's deteriorating security situation, the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) has said.

Zimbabwe has, in the recent past, witnessed some abductions on government critics with the latest being that of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting president Peter Magombeyi Saturday.

The government has vehemently denied any involvement in the abductions, insisting these were the works of a "third force" out to create a situation in which the State would be viewed as in violation of rights abuses.

Information secretary went further to claim this week that those carrying out the abductions could be the same forces that attempted to assassinate President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year through a Bulawayo bomb blast that killed two presidential security aides.

In a statement Tuesday, the church group blasted the Mnangagwa administration for not doing enough to demystify and also bring to book, elements behind the so-called "third force".

"Church leaders are learning with deep concern the deteriorating human security situation especially as demonstrated by at least 20 reports of abductions," said the churches.

"This situation is deeply worrying because none of the reported cases of abduction and torture have been successfully investigated and prosecuted.

"The situation is further disturbing because there is government communication suggesting that there is a possibility of a third force.

"Apart from it being too coincidental that this third hand is only targeting civil society activists and other dissenting voices, it is worrying that after so many reported cases, not a single person has been arrested.

"This has put the security of citizens at the highest level of vulnerability."

ZHOCD went on to advise Mnangagwa to establish an independent investigation body to look into the abduction cases.

"The church leaders are also concerned to hear of the fragile relationships within the security sector alleged to have only worsened in the course of the November 2017 transition. If this is the case, the church leaders are worried that politicisation of the security sector in the context of deep inter and intra party fragmentation puts the whole nation at highest levels of security risk.

"The church leaders call upon President Mnangagwa to publicly condemn the abductions and torture of civilians as well as appointing an independent investigation into these abductions," they said.

Several rights activists and government critics have been abducted, tortured and left for dead.

Among them are popular comedienne, Samantha 'Gonyeti' Kureya, activist Tatenda Mombeyarara and rural teachers union leader, Obert Masaraure who were tortured and left for dead.

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