The United Kingdom’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge has called upon the Zimbabwean government to urgently launch a transparent inquiry into the alleged abduction and torture of MDC Alliance activists by suspected State agents last year.
MDC Alliance youth leaders, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, and a Member of Parliament from the same party, Joanna Mamombe, were reportedly abducted in May last year after staging a flash demonstration in Harare’s Warren Park suburb in protest against the government’s failure to provide a cushion for poor citizens during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Mamombe and Chimbiri were recently arrested again and denied bail for allegedly yelling at members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
In a statement via Twitter, Duddridge bemoaned the lack of progress in investigations into the abduction and torture of the MDC Alliance trio. He said:
Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri of the MDC have again been denied bail after their arrest for criticising police in Zimbabwe.
There is still no progress either on the investigation into their allegations of abduction and abuse in May. A transparent inquiry is urgently needed.
Meanwhile, in an op-ed published in South Africa earlier this week, Duddridge said Zimbabwe has to undertake far-reaching political and economic reforms in order to attract foreign capital. He wrote:
UK investors repeatedly tell us that three things prevent them from investing in Zimbabwe: concerns about the poorly managed currency, concerns about the arbitrary property rights, and concerns about the legal system.
These areas can be improved through genuine political and economic reform and with greater investment, the economy can be rebuilt for all Zimbabweans.