By Staff Reporter
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has bizarrely claimed that a trade unionist who was abducted and brutally tortured on Wednesday night, staged the whole thing and tortured himself “to put Zimbabwe in very bad light” during political dialogue with the European Union.
The president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Association of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Obert Masaraure was abducted from his Harare home by a group of suspected state security agents, taken to a secluded place, then stripped naked and beaten.
The incident came hours after the European Union (EU) held talks with the Zimbabwe government, the first in a series of meetings aimed at ending years of strained relations over Harare’s alleged rights abuses. In an interview yesterday, Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said the wounds that Masaraure had were self-inflicted .
“We have checked with the security services including the police and they do not know anything about that. There is not even a police report that was made. We believe that this was stage-managed to put Zimbabwe in very bad light since Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) have launched a formal political dialogue process,” he said.
“The police did not do it (abduct him), the intelligence did not do it. He inflicted the bruises on himself to give a bad picture about the Government after he had called for a strike that was not successful.
“It does not mean it’s the State that inflicted the bruises on him, the State does not have monopoly on bruises. This has nothing to do with the State, its self-inflicted,” Mangwana said.
Presidential Advisory Council member Shingi Munyeza has meanwhile condemned the abduction and torture of Masaraure.;
“Abductions, beatings, kidnappings are not part of constitutional democracy or a progressive nation. The State must always protect its citizens. Culprits must be brought to book,” he said.
CONSTITUTIONALISM, PROTECTION OF RIGHTS & FREEDOMS
1. Abductions, beatings, kidnappings are not part of constitutional democracy or a progressive nation.
2. The State must always protect its citizens.
— Shingi Munyeza (@ShingiMunyeza) June 6, 2019
On Friday the European Union Mission in Zimbabwe called for a thorough investigation;
“The abduction and abuse of ARTUZ President Obert Masaraure in Harare on 6 June demands a swift, thorough transparent investigation by the competent authorities. This event follows arrests and detention of members of NGOs and trade unionists in Zimbabwe,” the EU said in a statement.