POLAD Statement on Abductions and Torture of MDC-Alliance leaders.

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24 May 2020.

The POLAD committee on Governance and Legislative Agenda on behalf of POLAD takes this opportunity to strongly condemn the alleged abductions and torture of MDC Alliance leaders recently. It came to our attention that 3 MDC Alliance leaders, Cecilia Chimbiri, Joana Mamombe and Netsai Marova were abducted,tortured and grossly abused.

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It is disturbing that the recent case of abduction joins a list of several other abductions witnessed before in Zimbabwe post independence. As a nation we still failing to account for citizens like Rashiwe Guzha, Patrick Nyamabane and Itai Dzamara who were allegedly abducted by State actors but are still not accounted for up to now.

The abduction of civilians is a threat to everyone’s security. The government must ensure that all citizens are safe regardless of their political affiliation.It is also the duty of the State to give satisfactory explanation whenever there is any allegation of abduction or torture that is related to State actors.

As POLAD we are concerned about several issues relating to the recent abductions of the 3 MDC Alliance leaders.It is not clear whether they were arrested or not as there were contradictory explanations given by the police.Initially the police had admitted that they had arrested the 3 MDC Alliance leaders.

Later on the police issued a contradictory communication denying the arrest of the 3 women political leaders and instead claiming that they were actually looking for them as accused persons in relation to their involvement in a demonstration held in Warren Park earlier on.

Violations like sexual abuse are easily established through proper medical examinations by State medical practitioners. It is our collective thinking that by now the police must have investigated the whole issue and make it’s findings public. The police investigations must identify the perpetrators and arrest them. POLAD expects,and wants,the State to explain,without any delay,the efforts and steps it has taken to investigate the allegations of abduction,torture and sexual violence.

The fact that social media was awash with videos of some people interacting with the victims and making interviews is a gross violation of the victims rights.The police did not do it’s work to protect the victims from the public and to ensure that the mandatory procedures required in cases of alleged sexual violence were done and made public.

As POLAD we strongly believe that President Mnangagwa must ensure that the relevant government authorities,especially police,do their duty as expected of them. POLAD believes that this is an appropriate case for a thorough and credible investigation.

We are also worried that it seems that there are serious divisions in government institutions. It seems that there is a section in various government institutions that is working against the current leadership of President Mnangagwa. This state of affairs is not only dangerous to everyone but a threat to State security.

POLAD leadership is now seeking an urgent meeting with President Mnangagwa over the recent alleged abductions and torture. Our interest is for the government to urgently release full details of what transpired and to explain the stage of any investigations being made.

We also want to take this opportunity to appeal to all Zimbabweans to adhere to the lockdown measures put in place by the government. There are certain activities such as demonstrations and political gatherings that may not be advisable during this period until everyone is safe from the threat of the COVID 19 virus.

Issued By Prof Lovemore Madhuku (POLAD Chairperson Governance & Legislative Agenda Committee)

Released For Media & Public By Nesbert Tonderai Mtengezanwa (POLAD Chairperson Information and Publicity Committee)

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