The Zimbabwean government has dismissed as false and mischievous reports that state security agents attempted to abduct opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on Saturday on his way to Harare from a party rally in Marondera, 80 kilometers east of the capital city.
In a statement, Information Minister Nick Mangwana ruled out the involvement of the feared spy network, the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), in the abduction attempt.
“For the avoidance of any doubt the CIO was not involved in this reported incident which is now under police investigation. Let’s us all give the police the support, cooperation and space they need to execute their constitutional mandate.”
Mangwana said people caught in the alleged abduction were ordinary citizens who were, instead, brutalized by the Chamisa entourage.
"Government would like to assure the public, all opposition parties and their leadership that it acknowledges and supports the legal existence of the opposition parties as enshrined in our Constitution. Government is dismayed at the imputation that state security agents would attempt to abduct opposition leaders. That notion is not only false but also mischievous moreso taken in light of the efforts by government to harmonize all laws and practice with the Constitution."
He claimed that Chamisa’s bodyguards and MDC activists accompanying him in an convoy blocked the civilians, who were minding their own business.
“Reports filed with police indicate that some people were coming from Marondera, driving behind what they later learnt to be Mr. Chamisa’s convoy. Suddenly the convoy stopped and blocked them from overtaking, they were aggressively confronted and manhandled by members of Mr. Chamisa’s entourage including Mr. Chamisa who lobbed himself at the back seat of their vehicle punching and scratching.
“The victims (just ordinary citizens going about their own business until the attack) have reported this matter to the police who are carrying out further investigations; this would appear to be a road rage incident.”
He said the government “would like to categorically state that neither the Intelligence Services nor any Security Services or any arm of government owns the Toyota Harrier in that video. A quick check at the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) would show the media or any interested parties who the owner of the Toyota Harrier is. In any event, ZRP is seized with that.”
But the MDC insists that state security agents attempted to abduct Chamisa, claiming that the MDC president was being followed by up to six registered and unregistered vehicles.
Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said, “The vehicles are the same that have been reported in the past to be following president Nelson Chamisa. The registration numbers are AET-8699, AES-6615, AES-0015, ADR-9409. Our security have reported these numbers at Avondale and Harare Central Police stations and nothing has been done to date.”
Police were not reachable for comment.
Chamisa challenged results of the July 30 presidential election won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the Constitutional Court but lost as judges agreed that his court action lacked merit.
He still maintains that he won the election and is the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.