Zimbabwe Gov’t Comes under International Pressure to Prosecute Abductors of 3 Opposition Women

 

Pressure is mounting on Zimbabwe's government to bring to account the abductors of three female youth leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) Party, with calls to also drop charges brought against them, even as they are still nursing wounds in a private health facility.

 

The three MDC-A members: Cecilia Chimbiri, legislator for Harare West, Joanna Mamombe and Netsai Marova went missing and were later found two days later along Bindura Road abused, tortured, and incapacitated. Rather than investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book, the State instead hauled the three before the courts, charging them with contravening lockdown regulations and inciting public violence.

 

Members of the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) have met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa seeking clarification on the course of action that the government is taking on the matter that has caused public outcry among Zimbabweans and the global community concerned about the respect of human rights.

 

The delegation which was headed by POLAD Chairperson on Governance and Legislative Agenda, Prof. Lovemore Madhuku demanded explanations from the President on the issue of the abductions of opposition party members which occurred earlier in May.

 

"As POLAD, we feel very strongly that the abductions must be investigated, we want to get to the bottom of the matter and so we were advising the President that it is important for the nation to ensure that these things are properly investigated through an independent process so that the whole world knows the truth. It is important that we don't continue to say abductions or no abductions, there must be clarity now on what exactly is happening," said Prof. Madhuku after meeting with President Mnangagwa.

 

POLAD is a body constituting the representation of opposition parties that lost out in the 2018 elections.

 

Meantime, rights organization, Amnesty International has also warned the government against gross violation of the rights of the concerned. Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda called on Mr. Mnangagwa’s administration to drop the charges against the trio saying they were victims of police brutality, sexual assault, and enforced disappearance.

 

In a statement, the human rights watchdog described the charges against the three women as a travesty of justice and ploy to intimidate the opposition and send a chilling message that anyone who challenged the government were putting themselves at risk.

 

"The Zimbabwean authorities should hold to account those suspected to be responsible for the enforced disappearance and sexual assault of the three female opposition leaders, rather than intimidating them with criminal charges.

The charges should be dropped immediately," Amnesty International urged.

 

The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe said police and prosecutors brought swift charges against the women opposition members, but no action on the abductors. 

 

“When will their abductors face charges?"  The Embassy questioned in a statement.