Zimbabwe: 'MDC Alliance's Abduction Claims Inconsistent'

One of the three MDC-Alliance officials who was allegedly abducted recently comes from a village near where they claim to have been dumped by their abductors, undermining claims that they did not know where they were, investigations have revealed.

This was one of the inconsistencies unearthed by investigations that Government instituted into the matter, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe has said.

Investigations are continuing with all possibilities being considered.

Yesterday, President Mnangagwa assured the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) extraordinary executive plenary meeting that Government will leave no stone unturned on the alleged abductions of Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri, and reiterated promises that reports of the findings will be made public.

"I would like to commend Polad through the Legislative Agenda and Governance Subcommittee for speaking out about the alleged abductions. Please rest assured that Government is investigating the reports and the findings will be made public," said President Mnangagwa.

Claims that the MDC-Alliance officials were abducted could not be dismissed outright, but there are glaring inconsistencies between their account of events and results of the investigations conducted so far, Minister Kazembe said.

Government insists it does not permit any of its institutions and agencies to use torture and forced disappearance or abductions.

While giving an update yesterday concerning ongoing investigations into the alleged abduction and torture of the MDC-A activists, Minister Kazembe said investigators could not conclusively dismiss the three's claims but it was critical to note that there were inconsistencies between their account of events and what has been found by security details.

The women were allegedly abducted on May 13 after taking part in a demonstration in Warren Park, Harare, which is now the subject of a criminal court case.

The combined multi-agency investigation underway seeks to establish whether the alleged kidnapping did occur, and to identify the alleged perpetrators, whether purporting to act on behalf of Government or other forces and bring them to justice. Minister Kazembe emphasised that the investigation does not interfere with a separate investigation and due process which is ongoing concerning the three's alleged participation in an illegal demonstration in Warren Park.

The Government said given the maze of lack of clarity between fact and fiction, it should not be forgotten that the opposition in Zimbabwe was in the habit of staging fake abductions and disappearances ahead of international events to force Zimbabwe onto the agendas in a negative way.

"There was the President's bilateral meeting with President Nyusi of Mozambique and the follow-up SADC Troika Summit which took place in Harare under the President's Chairmanship at the time of these allegations. There was also the impending re-engagement between Zimbabwe and the European Union which might have been targeted by this negativity," he said.

Investigations, according to the Minister, indicate that there is a ten-month American scholarship on offer for 10 MDC-A youth assembly candidates in the USA and the three are desperate to go hence they sought sympathy so as to benefit from the scholarship.

Minister Kazembe said the Government was determined to get to the bottom of this saga, to expose it if it is fake and to ensure that it will not happen again.

"Should these allegations turn out to be true, the Government of Zimbabwe is equally determined to bring the culprits to justice. Indeed the truth will speak for itself ultimately."

The investigation continues.

Meanwhile, Mamombe, Chimbiru and Marova are on bail for allegedly participating in the illegal demonstration with intent to promote public violence. The State on Wednesday gave notice of its intention to seek variations of their bail conditions. The State yesterday wished to apply for the three to surrender their passports in addition to the other standing bail conditions so there was no chance they could skip the country.

However, the matter was postponed to Monday next week after their lawyer Mr Jeremiah Bhamu successfully sought for a postponement on the basis that he needed time to take full instructions from his clients.

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