A Zimbabwean state official says three members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who were seized by unknown assailants last Wednesday, tortured and dumped 80 kilometers outside Harare, are stage-managing their abductions in order for the international community to deploy troops in the country and topple the ruling Zanu PF government.
In an interview, Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi, who described Harare lawmaker Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova as “comedians” seeking the removal of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government through international military force, claimed that their abductions are nothing new in Zimbabwe as “the opposition has failed to defeat Zanu PF in national elections”.
He said, “… It started with (late MDC founding president) Morgan Tsvangirai. He couldn’t win an outright majority to form a government and that led to that GNU (government of national unity). That legacy has continued with (MDC Alliance leader Nelson) Chamisa as well. He has failed to win the hearts of the Zimbabwean people … Now the opposition and other enemies of the government, they are now coming up with something, some strategies that can entail the international community to fight the Zimbabwean government directly seeing that on the election front they cannot achieve regime change.
“So, these abductions are being used by opposition leaders to ensure that government has a bad image, government is seen as torturing its citizens and breaking international law and they hope that this will trigger international powers or foreign powers like the U.S and other hostile countries into not only imposing more sanctions but also deciding on a military intervention. They are entertaining this hoping that one day there will be military intervention by some countries, something that we know is not going to happen.”
He said the “fake abductions” started with “some comedians, I don’t still remember their names), we come to the doctors, that Magombeyi as well, they were all those stories and they continue, now with an MDC MP saying they have been abducted. What these people are doing is that they are faking these abductions.”
Challenged to elaborate on his suggestions about fake abductions in the wake of the brutalization of Dr. Peter Magombeyi, who was leader of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association during the time he was seized by suspected state security agents, and the disappearance of some activists in independent Zimbabwe, Mutodi insisted that the opposition MDC led by Chamisa was playing dirty political tricks in order to unseat the ruling party while attempting to quell an uprising in his party.
He claimed that the three women, who were allegedly sexually abused and tortured by their captors that seized them at a Harare police station and then dumped them two days later in Bindura South, may have been abducted by some members of the MDC.
He further claimed that they may have self-inflicted wounds in order to get national and international sympathy.
“… They take themselves around in the countryside, they put bruises on their bodies and then they start alleging that they have been abducted by the government so that the government has a bad image and criticized by international players. So, this is something that is now well known. There is rivalry in their party … They are fighting with each other. This is something that does not need a rocket scientist to explain. These people are fighting.”
Pressed to explain on the abduction of the three woman, Magombeyi, Itai Dzamara and others, Mutodi said, “… Do you think Magombey was abducted? His story was not convincing. He wanted a salary increase … All these people like Magombeyi, these are fake people who are trying to gain political mileage and recognition out of nothing.”
He also claimed that it is difficult to arrest assailants as the abductions “are fake”.
Mutodi claimed that Mamombe and other MDC activists had suspicious injuries. “If you check them, if you put them before a doctor they will tell you that these people were not tortured, these people have good faces, they are smiling, but they only cry when it comes to the camera, to portray a bad image against the government.”
Questioned on these remarks, he said, “It’s very possible. These are comedians, I’m telling you. These are comedians trying to create a bad image against the government and trying to remove a constitutionally-elected government through hook and crook. This is clear duplicity which they are doing.”
But some MDC activists dismissed his remarks as “senseless and directionless”, saying Mutodi is singing for his super.
Edwin Ndlovu of the MDC Alliance led by Chamisa said, “This guy does not know what he is talking about. He is clearly singing for his super. There is nothing like faking an abduction when we clearly know that some people in the MDC have gone missing. The government has failed to account for them and people like Itai Dzamara, Paul Chizuze, and others were also abducted. Does Mutodi mean that they abducted themselves? They disappeared without a trace. Where do you think they are right now? The government knows what is going on.
“It is unbelievable that someone can talk about people inflicting injuries on themselves. That does not happen. It’s senseless to say that. We have women who are seriously injured and Mutodi is talking nonsense like this. Clearly, the government has a hand in their disappearance. I have no doubt about it.”
Henry Chimbiri, the father of one of the abducted MDC activists Cecilia Chimbiri, echoed the same sentiments, noting that indications are that state security agents have a hand in the brutalization of her daughter and the two other women.
“… The question I asked the police (when he went to a hospital where Cecilia is hospitalized) is about who found the girls. They are not the ones (police) who found the girls. I found the girls with the help of the MDC and lawyers. They did not make any attempt to search for the girls, Joanna Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri. They did not make any single, minute effort to search for them. When we went to Harare Central Police Station the officer in charge said he does not know anything about the girls but these girls were arrested at a police roadblock at the Harare showgrounds and even myself I was also almost arrested there.
“They said ‘you old man we will call our bosses and tell them that you causing problems and take you away’. I wanted to find out what happened to the girls. The whole thing has come out. These girls were under surveillance.”
He claimed that police wanted to block him and his wife from entering the ward were his child was admitted at Park Hospital.
The international community has urged Zimbabwe to fully investigate the matter.