Mnangagwa says claims of arrests, deaths, torture are ‘without evidence

By frank utong

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he is not bothered one bit by social media onslaughts.

He also accuses civic society and the opposition of staging abductions to paint a bad picture of his government.

Speaking during a virtual presentation on Covid-19 on Thursday, Mnangagwa said: “The arbitrary arrests, death, torture in the country, all that is being stated without evidence.”

In a discussion panel on Friday, titled “Unpacking Enforced Disappearances in Zimbabwe”, human rights lawyer Kennedy Masiye said there was serious mistrust in government arms hence people fear reporting abuses.

“In January 2019 [when there were fuel riots], women were raped and the government said people should report. We all know what happens when people report. They end up being charged for faking abductions,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s claim of staged abductions was met with a video exposé of the daylight drama-filled abduction of activist Tawanda Mucheiwa in Bulawayo. Leading Zimbabwean online newspaper ZimLive published a 16-minute video showing how the 22-year-old Mucheiwa was bundled into a twin cab Isuzu truck with five cars in a convoy. He was later transferred to a Ford Ranger.

Mucheiwa said he had “made peace with death”, while his abductors took turns to torture him for three days. He added: “I suffered horrific abuse at the hands of five agents over three days.”

Mucheiwa was suspected of being a ring leader in an alleged plot to burn bridges in Bulawayo on July 31 during protests.

At least 12 opposition activists were rounded up by the police, while Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, MDC Alliance legislator Job Sikhala and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono are in a remand prison.

Arguing against Ngarivhume’s bail on Friday, state prosecutor Michael Reza said: “If Jacob Ngarivhume is freed on bail and finds out that President Mnangagwa is still the president of this country, there will be hell.”

Justice Siyabona Paul Musithu reserved judgment on Ngarivhume’s bail application until September 2.

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