The minister maintained that the government ‘does not permit any of its institutions and agencies to use torture, forced disappearance or abductions’. Such methods, he said, were ‘extrapolated from foreign environments for the benefit of regime change sponsors’.
Kazembe alleged that the chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Fortune Nyamande, and his secretary, Norman Matara, were not resident in the country but had come back specifically to ‘fake’ the abduction. He said there had been consistent contamination of the entire chain of evidence by MDC leaders, activists and officials of foreign embassies who had gained access ahead of the investigating authorities.
Kazembe said examination of the women by government doctors had not shown any injuries matching the women’s accounts which, he said, showed ‘signs of coaching’. He claimed that before they were taken to hospital they went to MDC leader Chamisa’s private offices, adding: ‘the famed abduction was a desperate attempt to qualify for a US 10-month scholarship’.
His allegations were dismissed by the MDC’s deputy spokesman, Clifford Hlatshwayo, who said: ‘Zanu PF is behaving like a terrorist organisation. They are very cruel and think people are objects they can abuse, torture and rape. We are all God’s people and time will come when all this will end. The time is now.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/06/chamisa-diplomats-stage-managed-abductions-govt/).
Kazembe’s remarks came after a week of bruising exchanges between the Zanu PF government and the United States over the killing of an Afro-American by police in Minneapolis. The American ambassador, Brian Nichols (himself black), pointed out in a statement after meeting Foreign Minister Moyo that the policeman had already been charged with murder but people were wondering when abducted Zimbabweans would get justice.
‘I again urged Zimbabwe’s government to end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe, and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses . . . Peaceful protesters Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested, abducted, assaulted and left for dead. To those who deny America’s right to speak out on their fate, let me remind you, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere . . . Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.”’ (See: https://twitter.com/usembassyharare/status/1267450903512129536).
- The arrest of MDC leaders for trying to enter their own headquarters is further evidence that Zimbabwe is back to the 2008 collapse scenario. As Siphosame Malunga puts it in an article in the Africa Report: ‘Hollowed out and looted, the state can no longer look after its own soldiers and police, and their families; let alone address the spectre of mass starvation and a public health emergency haunting over half of Zimbabwe’s 16 million people.’ (See: https://www.theafricareport.com/29111/zimbabwes-critical-choice-state-collapse-or-people-powered-change/).
- Zimbabwean economist Christopher Mugaga, who is chief executive of the National Chamber of Commerce, says he expects to see inflation, put at nearly 700% in March, shoot up to 1,800% by the end of the year. He believes that the country will re-dollarise by then (see: https://bulawayo24.com/news/national/186612).
We are sad to report the passing away of Vigil activist Eletha Mpofu from stomach cancer on Friday. Our condolences go to her family. Also in our thoughts is Vigil activist Kevin Wheeldon who was admitted to hospital with coronavirus about a week ago. We were pleased to receive a message from him that he was getting better.
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157714609971221). Our virtual Vigil activists today were Mavis Harrison, Patricia Masamba and Esther Munyira who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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