On the 4th of June 2020, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Kazembe Kazembe, issued a statement on the “on-going investigations” of the abduction, torture and sexual assault of three members of the MDC Alliance, Joana Mamombe, Cecillia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
The Minister’s statement is an unfortunate and desperate attempt by the authorities to stage a cover-up and save face following the state’s welldocumented history of enforced disappearances where the likes of Itai Dzamara, Jestina Mukoko and many other Zimbabweans have been the victims of state-sponsored abductions and documented torture. This pattern of state abuse has always been followed by hollow denials and grandiose statements, with no action or follow through. We only need to look at the outcomes of the Motlanthe Commission, as pertained to the August 2018 shooting of innocent civilians, and the lack of state action to assess the sincerity of the state in carrying out these investigations.
It is a matter of regret that the Minister of Home Affairs has elected to play judge, jury and executioner in this grave criminal investigation instead of collecting the evidence and following leads that point to the perpetrators and placing these before an independent court for adjudication. The Minister of Home Affairs has no power at law to pronounce himself on the evidence in respect of the torture and sexual assault suffered by these women. The law should be allowed to take its course. Instead of constituting a genuine attempt to bring criminals to book, the alleged investigation shifts blame to the three women and undermines the trauma that they suffered at the hands of the perpetrators. The Minister’s statement only serves to revictimise the trio and deepen the allegation of state-bias in handling this investigation.
We demand an independent investigation into the abduction and torture of Joana, Netsai and Cecillia.