The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has accused authorities of paying hooligans to abduct, intimidate and torture human rights defenders.
This follows the alleged abduction of Zimbabwe Hospitals Doctors Association (ZHDA) acting president Peter Magombeyi from his Budiriro home on Saturday.
In a statement on Monday, ZCTU acting secretary-general Sylvester Mutindindi expressed shock over the incident. He said:
The ZCTU is appalled by what appears to be a clear and systematic pattern and upsurge of threats and abductions of civic organisation and trade union leaders who voice their concerns against the poor working conditions.
It is clear to the ZCTU that there is a specialised and well-sponsored group of hooligans that have been employed to carry out dirty work on behalf of those in authority to intimidate, kidnap and torture human rights defenders.
However, writing on Twitter on Monday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Ndavaningi Mangwana said:
The State takes its responsibility for the security of every citizen very seriously. When someone goes missing, it’s not a sign of a failed state or a banana republic.
The US has about 90k people missing at any time. In the UK a person goes missing every second. Banana Republic?
This Govt does not feel threatened by an informed citizenry. It has full confidence in its policies and is comfortable with having them subjected to informed scrutiny.
In fact, it prefers that as a countervail to current misinformation and disinformation.