Questions are now being raised about a spate of abductions of actors, activists and legislators which started as the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change prepared to stage its nation-wide demonstrations to pressure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to step down or form a national transitional authority to pave way for political and economic transformation.
The demonstrations which were supposed to kick off in Harare on 16 August and then move on to Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare were banned by the police.
The abductions have all been blamed on the State which is accused of gross human rights abuses and trying to stifle free expression.
Western diplomats and human rights organisations have blamed the government for the abductions though so far there is no concrete evidence or proof of who is carrying out the heinous acts.
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Standard that the government was not involved in the abductions of the opposition party and civil society activists.
“Why would we abduct people? To tarnish our own image? It is the MDC who are faking abductions, they are doing it so that they can remain relevant,” he said.
“They have realised that they were becoming irrelevant. After the demonstration in January, all the other demonstrations that they tried have failed.”
Deputy Defence Minister Victor Matemadanda said the alleged abductions were the work of enemies who wanted to tarnish the name of the Mnangagwa administration.
“It is laughable to hear people saying the government is abducting its citizens. Surely what would we get from abducting a comedian like Gonyeti, that is the work of our detractors bent on tarnishing the image of the government,” he was quoted by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation as saying.
Gonyeti, an actress whose real name is Samantha Kureya, was allegedly abducted last week by masked gunmen from her Mufakose home and had to be hospitalized.
Former President Canaan Banana’s son, Nathan, asked whether there was a third force trying to tarnish the image of the government.
“Is there a ‘THIRD FORCE’ creating division in the country? If you are a new President trying hard to be different in a positive way, why would you intentionally shoot yourself in the foot? There’s more to these abductions than the story sold to the public & international media,” he tweeted.
He was told to shut up as he was singing for his mother’s supper.
“Your mother was given a car and money, just shut up and chew the money rather than defend the indefensible,” Chris_ cd shot back.
Reports said the former First Lady Janet Banana, Nathan’s mother, was recently given a brand new car by Mnangagwa’s administration.
The most candid comment on the abductions, however, came from former firebrand MDC member Sekai Holland who was a government minister during the inclusive government.
Holland who now leads the National Peace Trust said: “The National Peace Trust notes with concern statements coming from some quarters of the diplomatic community, civil society and political players on the situation in Zimbabwe…
“Some of these statements border on falsehoods, misinformation and outright malice and have the potential to further derail current fragile multiple peace building initiatives in Zimbabwe, a new and healthy feature which the NPT treasure, after the 52 years of Zimbabweans fear of one another and the painful silence our society has endured.
“Zimbabweans need to take advantage of the new spirit ushered in by the 2nd Republic to call for peace and to open new spaces for conversations.”
Could she be singing for her supper too?