The Zimbabwean doctor whose disappearance Saturday, sparked off a wave of doctors’ strikes across the country, has reappeared, alive. However, the doctor’s recollection of his disappearance, is vague.
Speaking on VOA Zimbabwe Service’s Livetalk program, Thursday, a disoriented sounding Dr. Peter Magombeyi, the acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, confirmed he was the one on the other end of the phone.
The doctor, who had been spearheading calls for an increase of doctors’ salaries when he disappeared, said he could not remember what exactly happened to him or how he ended up where he was - an area called Nyabira, about 21-miles from Harare.
“That part I’m just so vague about, I need time to recall.”
Struggling to speak, Magombeyi said he didn’t have any obvious signs of physical injury, but only generalized pain. He said his last recollection before being taken by unnamed people, were memories of being electrocuted.
“I remember being in a basement of some sort, being electrocuted at some point, that is what I vividly remember. I, I just don’t remember.”
Missing since Saturday, Magombeyi said a lot of what happened during that time, including if he had anything to eat or if he was blindfolded, was too vague for him to articulate.
“I barely remember anything. I think I am having retrograde amnesia, I just don’t know.”
Zimbabwe’s government and police have denied involvement in Magombeyi’s disappearance but said they were doing all they could to find the doctor. The government also indicated a third force could be involved in the disappearance to taint its image.
Responding to the police allegation, and also Twitter posts alluding to the same accusations, Magombeyi said he had no answer.
“I need time to think about it, I don’t know.”
Zimbabwe doctors, some of who were already on strike since early September demanding pay increments, intensified their strike following Magombeyi’s disappearance and vowed not to return to work until he was found.
At the time of the interview, Magombeyi said he was waiting for the police and his colleagues to pick him up. One of his colleagues told VOA Studio 7 that he was picked up by the police who took him to Central Police Station in Harare.
Lawyers representing the doctor said police denied them permission to have access to their client. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi refused to comment, saying he will issue a statement.
(Contributions: VOA Studio 7 reporters Sithandekile Mhlanga and Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye)