A Zimbabwean human rights defender, Ttaenda Mombeyarara has said that he is terrified by the recent reports of abduction and torture of three MDC Alliance trio – Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
Mombeyarara was last year kidnapped from his home at ungodly hours, tortured and sustained a fractured leg.
He is one of many people who were last year arrested on grounds that they were intending to subvert a constitutionally established government. Speaking to DW, Mombeyarara said dissent can lead to abduction and torture. He said:
I am petrified and terrified. It is a difficult situation to become a villain when you are the victim. You are forced to decide to keep to yourself to prevent further victimization. You have to remain gagged to heal. The nature of harm caused on you goes beyond physical.
Although the identity of the perpetrator of these human rights abuses is not yet known, the opposition MDC and human rights organizations say in most incidences, the pattern of the violations points towards the state.
The government, however, has denied involvement with the Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe saying the government does not engage or permit any of its agencies and institutions to use methods such as torture, forced disappearances or abductions.
Kazembe accused the opposition of working with foreign organizations to destabilize the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa adding that “torture and forced disappearances are alien to us.”
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch Southern Africa Director Dewa Mavhinga observes that Zimbabwe’s failure to decisively deal with cases of abductions disappearances and torture severely undermines the standing of the country within the international community and reengagement efforts.