Zimbabwe: Outrage Over Minister Kazembe Remarks

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe.
5 June 2020

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has expressed concern over utterances made by Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe who insinuated that members of the forum were linked to the 'fake' abduction of three MDC Alliance members.

In a statement the Forum says remarks by the Minister were shocking.

"The Forum notes with dismay, shock and repugnance the mention of three of our members by Minister Kazembe Kazembe, in his press statement on 4 June 2020. The statement insinuated that the abductions are fake, and mentioned our three members in a manner meant to create an association with the allegations of fake abductions" read the statement

The Minister claimed that the Counselling Service Unit (CSU) a member of the Forum was an opposition-aligned Non-Governmental Organisation and interacted with the three MDC A members on the fateful day.

"We categorically state that the CSU is not an "opposition-aligned NGO" as claimed by the Minister, but an apolitical entity recognised and operating in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe. Secondly, at no point did the abducted trio visit or interact with CSU on the fateful day.

"The Minister chooses to identify CSU as having offices "in the Kopje area" and "in the vicinity of Fidelity Life Towers", thus suggesting that the trio must have been at CSU as they "spent close to 30 minutes" in that area. Several organisations, including government offices, are based in the Kopje area, and we are at a loss as to why the Minister chooses to mention CSU. Further, CSU is not "an appendage" of any institution, and is a member of the Forum in its separate persona. Our members are not "avid critics of government", but lawful entities that exist for constitutional causes." said the Forum

In light of the Minister's statements the forum says it is concerned with safety and welfare of its members.

"With our members mentioned by name, we put on record our concerns for their safety and welfare, and it is our hope that these institutions and their personnel will remain untouched and unharmed"

The Forum says the persistent and ceaseless attacks on CSOs leaders, both through dishonesty approaches and persecution by prosecution are well-documented tactics in Zimbabwe.

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