By Moses Matenga
Human rights lawyers have put Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe on the spot, demanding that he proves State claims that three MDC Alliance officials currently in remand prison raised false allegations of abduction and torture by security forces to tarnish government’s image.
The lawyers, Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni threatened legal action against Kazembe early this month after he told the nation that the three MDC Alliance officials Joanah Mamombe (Harare West MP), Netsai Marowa and Cecilia Chimbiri had faked their abduction.
The human rights defenders accused government officials of conniving with the police in maligning their clients who also include the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights.
On June 4, Kazembe claimed at a Press conference that the State had unearthed evidence that the trio staged their abduction following a flash demonstration in Warren Park, Harare, in contravention of the lockdown restrictions.
Kazembe said government had obtained a graphic map of the trio’s movements on the day of their “alleged abduction” and came to the conclusion that the allegations were stage-managed.
In a letter dated June 16, the rights’ lawyers gave Kazembe seven days to prove all his claims.
The minister is yet to respond.
“Despite the grace period we gave you to respond to our specific reasonable demands contained therein, you have failed to furnish proof of all the factual allegations you made,” the lawyers said in a letter to the minister dated June 24.
“This gives the inescapable impression that you intentionally convened a Press conference to mislead the nation and the world at large on issues that have no factual basis and thereby deliberately soiled the good names of our clients, ourselves, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, among others.”
In his statement, Kazembe claimed that two human rights doctors Fortune Nyamande and Norman Matara, who lived outside the country, had only jetted in to participate in the “fake abductions”.
The lawyers also demanded in their earlier letter that government issues a public apology for displaying “malicious intent to leave the names and reputations of all persons you intentionally slandered permanently soiled.”
“… disclose the various agencies involved in the investigations and thereby proving the unconstitutionality of your actions and the blatant disregard by you of our clients’ constitutional liberties.”
The lawyers demanded that Kazembe disclose to them how information only shared with the police ended up in the hands of Zanu PF functionaries. H-Metro