Press statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sibusiso Moyo on allegations of abduction and torture of three members of the opposition MDC.
Government is gravely concerned about the serious allegations made by three (3) female MDC leaders, the Member of Parliament Joana Mamombe, along with Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, to the effect that they were subjected to abduction, torture, forced disappearance and sexual abuse at the hands of suspected State Security agents.
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The Government would like to assure the public and the international community that it is taking these allegations seriously. These allegations are particularly grave in that they involve alleged violations of the rights of the girl child, a vulnerable group of our society which this Government is on record as resolutely promoting and protecting.
Whilst the relevant agencies of State are fully seized with the matter and are already investigating all aspects of the allegations made by the three ladies in question – including the circumstances surrounding the unauthorized staging of a demonstration during the national lockdown, in deliberate violation of S/I 77 of 2020 – it is most disconcerting to note that some sections of the media and even some within the diplomatic community appear to have already concluded that the Zimbabwean Government was responsible for the alleged abuses.
Surely they would better serve the cause of justice by allowing the law to take its course and to await the outcome of the investigation rather than jump to conclusions or wantonly ascribe culpability.
Although Government has refrained from drawing its own hasty conclusions, it is difficult to ignore the glaring similarities which exist between this recent alleged incident and several such allegations in the past, which have all borne similar hallmarks of stage-managed theatre, designed to soil the image of the Government and indeed the Nation, and to divert attention from the ongoing implosion and ever-shifting allegiances within some Political formations in the Opposition.
As has been the case with several past alleged abductions, the current dramatic episode just happened to coincide with major international and regional events – the convening of the SADC Troika Summit and the presence, in Harare, of several Regional Heads of State, and the impending SADC Council of Ministers virtual meeting.
Government will, however, await the outcome of the investigation before drawing any conclusions. Investigations will be conducted with the prime objective of exposing and prosecuting the perpetrators, if any, or exposing the involvement of a possible third force.
In addition, Government wishes to assure the public and the international community that 0 is fully committed to its obligations to protect the human rights and the dignity of all its citizens, irrespective of race. gender or political affiliations.
As is already known, six police officers have been arrested in connection with the alleged assault of Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu in Bulawayo, and have already appeared in Court.
Furthermore, Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to Article 10 of the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and its commitment to the peaceful settlement of all forms of disputes; political and economic; and to international engagement and re-engagement based on the sovereign equality of all nations.