Minister rejects abduction claim 

Vasco Chaya

AUTHORITIES yesterday pooh-poohed the alleged recent abduction and torture claims by MDC Alliance youth leaders who had participated in a flash demo in Harare, the Daily News reports.

This comes as the three women at the centre of the furore — Harare West MP Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — are still receiving treatment in hospital, for the injuries they sustained when they disappeared last month.
Addressing a press conference in Harare, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe also appeared to suggest that the women had “stage-managed” their disappearance and alleged torture.
“Firstly, there is very consistent contamination of the various crime scenes and the entire chain of evidence relevant to this case by MDC Alliance leaders, activists and several officials of foreign embassies in Harare — who gained access thereto (the crime scene), ahead of investigating authorities.
“Secondly, the complainants for a long time after they were ‘discovered’ at Muchapondwa village near Bindura — where they claimed to have been dumped after their ordeal — refused outright to give their statements to the torture they claimed to have endured.
“Ironically, Chimbiri hails from a village not far from where they claim to have been dumped,” Kazembe said.
“This makes it unsustainable for them to pretend not to know where they were, even the direction of Harare from there, at that material time,” he added.
Kazembe also questioned the choice of the doctors and lawyers who had attended to the women — the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) — who he claimed were known to be anti-government.
“They jointly claimed that the trio were too traumatised psychologically and, therefore, under heavy sedation which rendered it impossible for them to undergo any interviews.
“What is glaringly inconsistent with this position is that during their alleged heavy sedation, MDC Alliance officials and the diplomats mentioned …  including foreign media houses, 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.
“Needless to say, and without at all pre-empting due process of the law, their three statements show glaring signs of rehearsal and even possible coaching which may not stand up to rigorous cross examination,” Kazembe said.
In addition, he claimed, there was no evidence of beatings — adding that results from examinations made by doctors of their choice were not consistent with their claims.
“There was no evidence of any swelling, fresh lacerations, wound fractures consistent with the kind of manhandling they claimed to have gone through.
“This being the case, it is important to advise the public that in a bid to ascertain if there was any rape or sexual assault, samples were taken and results are pending,” Kazembe said further.
This comes after the three MDC youth leaders alleged last month that they were abducted and tortured by suspected State agents, before being dumped near Bindura, in the aftermath of their demo in Warren Park.
Recently, the police charged the trio with several breaches, including violating coronavirus regulations.

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