Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Zimbabwe and abductions

31 Aug 2020 at 09:46hrs | Views
Since the beginning of the year, some people, mainly government detractors, and opposition members have claimed to have been abducted and tortured in Zimbabwe, but it is not easy to say who could be behind these heinous crimes. The opposition has accused the government and they have spread the word everywhere.

In the eyes of the world, Zimbabwe appears to be like a dog's breakfast. But what exactly is kidnapping or abduction? The term Political kidnapping stands for the type of kidnapping which is conducted to obtain political concessions from security forces or governments. There are implications for the prevention and investigation of a political kidnapping. Political kidnappers are typically organized groups of individuals who surveil their target prior to the abduction. A political kidnapping is generally perpetrated for these reasons: to demonstrate that the government cannot protect its own citizens; to ascertain publicity for a specific cause; to cause civil discontent; and to demand the release of incarcerated group members. The abduction sites are typically in countries experiencing political unrest or instability. This explains why the opposition in Zimbabweans are desperate to make Zimbabwe look like an abduction hot bed. Abductions in political situations could be done by both sides. Where the other party seeks attention they do kidnap or abduct for their political ends. That is to say they kidnap their on members and accuse the other party of the abductions they have done. This will mean that the abducted person will be surely aware that he is participating in a game.

 Abduction or Kidnapping is universally regarded as a serious crime. Many kidnappings throughout history has no overt political motivation but, since the early 1970s, there have been many highly publicized kidnappings for political purposes around the world. It must be noted that what commences as a non-political kidnapping can become an event of considerable political significance. This is because one party which is losing grip on itself creates conditions which makes it necessary for intervention. Kidnapping is universally regarded as a serious crime. It is not confined to top business executives and their families but can affect all social classes bringing trauma to the victims and those most closely related. Even the poorest families can suffer from the abduction of children for slavery and sexual abuse.

The term "kidnapping" originated in 17th century in England where children were "kidnapped" and often sold as slaves or agricultural workers to colonial farmers So legally abduction is defined as the the criminal act of taking a person away by means of fraud, persuasion, by threat of violence or by force.[Kidnapping, by comparison, is limited to a threat of violence or forcefully taking adults or the by the taking of children. it often involves some form of false imprisonment. In some states, kidnapping and abduction are treated as the same thing.Kidnapping is the unlawful taking of a person against their will. So in the word itself there is no reasonable reason why a government abducts its own people. Zimbabwean police have a constitutional right of arresting a person thereby lawfully interfering with his freedom. The social media is awash with unsubstantiated allegations that Zimbabwe police and security agencies are kidnapping or abducting people. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have said scores of people were arrested and detained across Zimbabwe as authorities mounted an unprecedented clampdown on protests by pro-democracy campaigners, opposition political party members and ordinary citizens voicing concern over rising corruption and a worsening economic and political crisis in the troubled southern African nation. The way the lawyers have put up their report makes Zimbabwe look like a paria state which is so draconian. You will actually feel that the streets of Zimbabwe are full of men and women who are abducting people. Because such reports come from Lawyers the world becomes gullible. The damages being inflicted on Zimbabwe are irreparable and will be an ugly mark of dictatorship on Zimbabwe. In a statement, the lawyers' group said in Bulawayo, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other enforcement officers on arrested four people - Advent Mathuthu, Amandlenkosi Mathuthu, Tawana Muchehiwa and Tendai Masotsha - on allegations that they had generated and distributed some flyers promoting a protest on Friday the 31st of August. If we ho bu the statement by these lawyers it then shows that these four people have done an act which was criminal in mature.

The lawyers embarrass themselves by claiming a kidnap as opposed to arrest. Both actions have similar characteristics and it is understood that any person can be drowned in semantics. But if the statement is from lawyers it is not a mistake but a calculated statement meant to mislead the nation and cultivate a spirit of rebellion anger and unrest. The lawyers who subscribe to such a statement are an embarrassment to the profession.

It becomes clear that the lawyers are not doing their job as per their oath but they have become activists who spread rumours with a malicious intention. Such misinformation is now taken by the West as the truth and attracts adverse comments about Zimbabwe. When Zimbabwe reacts and restore order they then fall I to the trap and every action by the police is taken out of proportion. While we know that Kidnapping, is a criminal offense consisting of the unlawful taking and carrying away of a person by force or fraud or the unlawful seizure and detention of a person against his will. The principal motives for kidnapping are to subject the victim to some form of involuntary servitude, to expose him to the commission of some further criminal act against his person, or to obtain ransom for his safe release. More recently, kidnapping for the purpose of extortion has become a tactic of political revolutionaries or terrorists seeking concessions from a government. In all countries it is considered a grave offense punishable by a long prison sentence or death.. So it becomes so buffing that this international crime is alleged to be committed by Zimbabwe and no evidence is being brought forward to support such damaging allegations.

Zimbabwean doctors protested the alleged abduction of a union leader won a High court ruling allowing them to march and handover a petition to the parliament. The alleged abduction of Peter Magombeyi, 27 the leader of Zimbabwe's doctors, who was masterminding a strike for better pay and improved working conditions, left the doctors with an eggshell on their faces when Mugombei came out five days later, emerging from a bush some 40 km northwest of the capital, Harare. There was no sign of abuse or torture. His story was confused and later he left the country abandoning the doctors.

It was too late when the doctors realised that they were duped by Mugombeyi. This left a dent in Zimbabwe's human rights record.

Magombeyi alleged that he had literally been walking with his back firmly to the wall and sleeping with one eye wide open as he was receiving threatening messages from unknown people on his phone over the deadlock between the government and the doctors. He never took these texts to the police. These messages were never shown to anyone but only an allegation that there was such a message was spread out. This incident put another ugly dent on Zimbabwe's human rights record. Looking at it this dent was put in by the doctors. So the world put credibility on the lies and it looked as do the nation.

That he was found alive was a real miracle to many because in the past none of those that have gone missing for more than a day have been found alive, if found at all. Even most of his colleagues who took to the streets daily to protest against his abduction had started referring to him – in their songs and slogans – using terms reserved only for the dead. Magombeyi is the latest of the more than 50 Zimbabwean opposition and human rights activists who, since the beginning of the year, have been feigning kidnap from their homes in the middle of the night by the imaginary armed men and tortured. This drama as untrue as it is it gave Zimbabwe a very bad name. Not a single suspect has been apprehended by security agents in connection with these kidnappings because they all turned to be hoax calls. This has left Zimbabweans, who are bitterly divided along unforgiving political fault lines, to accuse and counter-accuse each other of being behind these crimes. All this does not help Zimbabwe. The opposition and the international community blame the government, they ironically act without investigation. They break the back bone of the law which says ". All parties must be heard." This maxim is the face of fairness. The international community are descending in the arena and they are getting blinded by the dust from the arena. Intervention works while you are not part of the dight.

It the comes clear that the opposition are working with the United States and other Western powers to pursue a regime change agenda.

There is no love lost between President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government and the opposition and civil society organisations (CSOs). The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rejected the outcome of the July 2018 elections after its sponsors advised them to challenge Mnangagwa's legitimacy. So the legitimacy issue has been the tool used by Chamisa to refuse to cooperate with zimbabwe government. When their idea failed they had to feign unrest in Zimbabwe so that their sponsors can say Zimbabwe is in a crisis. While the opposition sends a false alarm on Zimbabwe Mnangagwa is not allowed to go after those individuals and organisations that are trying to destabilise the nation and the government.

Since the elections and coming in of the new dispensation a spate of fake abductions started, and the government is being accused labelled and soiled

"Government is disturbed by the growing trend of politically motivated false abductions in the country which are calculated to put government in negative light," Mnangagwa said in a state address on September 2019.

"Such political trickery, which in fact amounts to terrorism, will not take our country forward. New measures might have to be formulated to deal with this new threat and to severely punish those responsible for such subterfuges," This promise by the president was translated to be a threat by the Western governments.

Mnangagwa and his government are being labelled to be in a denial, and a denial about being in denial. The abductions have always been staged, and other abductions have turned to have been done by opposition or a "third force" that is bent on tarnishing the government.

The fictitious victims have harrowing tales to share. Magombeyi, claimed that he had to seek treatment in neighbouring South Africa for suspected liver poisoning and brain damage.

These lies prompted Amnesty International to conclude that a atate-sanctioned crackdown against human rights defenders, activists, civil society leaders and members of the opposition, including abductions and torture, is underway in Zimbabwe. This conclusion was made without evidence.

"We are witnessing a violent crackdown on activists and civil society leaders, with authorities using some of the brutal tactics seen under the government of Robert Mugabe," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa. "Instead of listening to protestors' concerns about the economy, the authorities have used torture and abduction to crush dissent and instil fear."

Dewa Mavhinga, Human Rights Watch Southern Africa Director, told TRT World in an interview that all indications are pointing to state actors being behind these violations.

"The matter of abductions is straightforward – the abductions are real, and from the look of things, elements within the state may be complicit in them because of three reasons," explained Mavhinga. The motive of abductions is clearly to strike fear into the hearts of all government critics, and to prevent people from organising protests against the Mnangagwa government." Jestina Mukoko, a survivor of abduction and torture by state goons, concurred with Mavhinga that the crimes have all the hallmarks of state involvement.

"Abductions are not new to the system," Mukoko told TRT World. "It is a tactic that has been used over the years, even in the government of former president Mugabe, the objective being to silence dissent and muzzle anything that goes against the system."

Besides the emotional talk from the activist there is no evidence to implicate the state in the abductions.  A wave of abductions, torture and arrests in Zimbabwe are targeting opposition activists and other government critics this is the narrative of the opposition which they are selling to the international world.

It is however very clear that the abductions are the work of the opposition that is determined to discredit the new leadership and create a crisis which does exist. The clear evidence points To the opposition and their cahoots of conniving to stage these abductions in the hope of gleaning international sympathy and, more importantly, the lifeblood financial support that usually accompanies that sympathy.

Critics say the country's protracted crises in Zimbabwe have spawned some wily career activists that know how to make rich pickings in the name of fighting for democracy and human rights.  "The big question is, what does the current government gain by abducting the medical doctor or Mucheiwa a student journalist making waves with his fictitious story.? Zimbabwe is in a time when it is trying to clean up its own image

"Who stands to benefit from these so-called abductions? The MDC and the activists of course! If the opposition abduct one of their own and put them in a safe house somewhere, they are going to get donor funds and buttress their narrative that there are gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe and then the US will probably apply more sanctions to Zimbabwe, and then they rejoice as they always do.

"The MDC should move away from politics of setting a bad narrative about our country and must start pushing for politics of issues. They want to grab power at all cost and are prepared to smear the country's image just so that the current [government] finds it difficult to attract solidarity from other nations and investment from abroad. It is very bad and shameful," Masarira Lynda commented.

Now there is a CCTV recording presumably showing Mucheiwa being abducted. In the CCTV there is no proof that the government was involved. The lies have engulfed the social media to an extent that people are starting to believe that its true.

The happenings shows that a third force is at work in Zimbabwe working over time. The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, rightly blame the crimes on what is seen as a 'third force'. A statement issued by his ministry said it was curious that most of these high-profile abduction cases only take place in the run-up to international events.

There is no doubt that the latest abduction m Mucheiwa is meant to boost the narrative of bas governance and force talks with the opposition.

The government is under attack from every corner and this points to the enemies from within and social media.

The infighting in the opposition has raised serious questions about the opposition's capacity to contain enemies within their own party. MDC is assisted by former heavyweights that were fiercely loyal to Mugabe, who fled into exile while those that have remained in the country are regularly punching holes in the boat.

 This makes it difficult for the economy to grow.

So looking at the whole case on the round opposition is deliberately misleading the world. A loosing party is trying to come back

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.