MDC trio arrested on fresh charges


Sindiso Mhlophe

POLICE yesterday swooped on the three MDC Alliance youth leaders, who participated in a flash demonstration in Warren Park, Harare recently and arrested them on fresh charges of reporting fake abduction and torture.

The trio, Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, were first arrested last month and appeared in court facing charges for breaching lockdown regulations due to their participation in the flash demonstration over the government’s failure to provide food for poor families during the coronavirus (Covid-19)-induced lockdown period.

Their latest arrest comes as Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe recently gave an update concerning an on-going investigation into the alleged abduction and torture of the three MDC youth leaders, which indicated that the abduction was likely to have been stage-managed.

This development was confirmed by the trio’s lawyer, Aleck Muchadehama who said they were being charged with defeating the course of justice.

“Yes, I can confirm that Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova were arrested today (yesterday) and they are being charged with attempting to defeat the course of justice. According to the police, the charges are emanating from that between 13 and 15 May 2020, the trio reported that they had been kidnapped and tortured by members of the police force and that when they made this report they were lying.

This is because the police investigations showed that the information which they gave in their report was inconsistent and incorrect. So currently, the three women have been detained at Harare Central Police Station and we are waiting for further instruction,” Muchadehama said.

Kazembe, who is the Zanu PF chairperson for Mashonaland Central province, where the three were dumped, alleged that the statements by the activists showed glaring signs of “rehearsal” and “even possible coaching”.

“They would feign confusion and hysteria at the mere sight of a policeman,” he said.
“Their doctors and lawyers, who, not by coincidence, hail from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Doctors Association and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, both avid critics of government, jointly claimed that the trio were too traumatised psychologically and, therefore, under heavy sedation which rendered it impossible for them to undergo any interviews,” Kazembe said.

“What is glaringly inconsistent with this position is that during their alleged heavy sedation, MDC-A officials, foreign media had unfettered access to them during which they interacted freely and recorded graphic accounts of what they claimed as having transpired but denying the same to police,” he added.

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