Rendition continues, Hague is next stop: Shumba

The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum said this week that cases of renditions against Zimbabwean political activists continued unabated.

Gabriel Shumba: We will not back down.
Gabriel Shumba: We will not back down.

ZEF last week threatened to refer members of South Africa’s crack crime unit The Hawks to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The government said it was about to complete investigations into the matter, but ZEF said that should the officials escape justice in their home country, the Hague would be its next option.

The director, Gabriel Shumba, whose organisation is in touch with most of the victims who survived rendition, told The Zimbabwean this week that numerous reports were still being received by his organisation.

The Sunday Times published damning allegations in October on South African officials’ cooperation with Zimbabwean authorities in abducting Zimbabweans in South Africa for torture and murder back in their home country.

“We have received numerous reports of abuse of Zimbabweans by the SAPS and these include allegations of torture and brutality, which have rarely been prosecuted,” said the human rights lawyer on Monday.

“We welcome investigations – but at the same time we want to see a transparent, independent and inclusive process. We hope that any such process will lead to prosecution in this jurisdiction, which albeit not perfect, is better than the SADC Tribunal which is at present paralysed by massive political interference,” he said.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa recently told parliament that an investigation into several Hawks officers was nearing completion, although the public and the concerned Zimbabweans have been kept in the dark about the proceedings.

Those who have been targeted for the abduction and torture include known political activists of the MDC and male former members of the armed forces who deserted their jobs at the height of the country’s economic meltdown.

“Zanu (PF) still believes that most of the former soldiers and policemen are being trained here for purposes of sabotage and regime change,” said a Pretoria-based former police officer this week.

“Zanu (PF) has never trusted the MDC and, despite unavailability of evidence to back its claims, still believes that the party is working with some farmers to train insurgents that will later be used to unseat Mugabe.”

The MDC denies such claims and, far from living on farms, most former junior members of the security forces are employed as security guards in the big cities and most are out of touch with each other.

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