President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Obert Masaraure was kidnapped last night by alleged state agents at his Harare home.
Masaraure, according to his wife was later dumped at Harare Central Police Station after being severely beaten. ARTUZ secretary general Robson Chere has also been detained.
Masaraure was kidnapped when he was on the line with VOA Zimbabwe Service, saying he was fearing for his life as he felt he had been followed to his house by suspected members of the spy network, the Central Intelligence Organization.
Minutes after raising concern, loud noise could be heard from the background as the home was being broken into.
When VOA tried to reach him a few minutes after he raised alarm, his wife responded in a text, noting that “they took him away, they broke our house.”
He was abducted in front of his wife and children.
Efforts to reach State Security Minister Owen Ncube and police spokesperson Charity Charamba were futile as their phones went unanswered.
Zimbabwean authorities for days now have shutdown internet amid a crackdown on protesters who staged public protests this week.
Despite growing international pressure from the United Nations, Washington, London and the European Union, the crackdown led by the military is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Police and soldiers have been accused of indiscriminately dragging people from their homes and torturing them, forcing many government critics to go underground.
Government is accusing protesters of trying to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Masaraure was part of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI). YALI was launched in 2010 by former United States President Barack Obama as part of his flagship programme to “support young Africans as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.”
The Mandela Washington Fellowship, which began in 2014, brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by The International Research and Exchanges Board IREX.