By NQOBANI NDLVOU/SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO MDC Alliance youth activist Takunda Madzana was on Sunday night allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents who went on to quiz him on the planned July 31 protests.
Government has warned against taking to the streets to protest hunger and poverty, among other socio-economic ills, with some officials claiming the demonstrations were an act of illegal regime change.
Organiser of the July 31 planned protests, Jacob Ngarivhume and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono are languishing in remand prison following their arrest for allegedly inciting public violence.
MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said the abduction of Madzana came a day after suspected State security agents had raided ward 24 councillor Arnold Batirai’s home.
“He was abducted from his Magwegwe home between 11pm and 12am. They took him to a secluded area near Magwegwe, where he was tortured and dumped there,” Chirowodza said yesterday.
“The abductors wanted information on who was funding the July 31 protest. They also wanted to know who are other officials in the party involved as well as details about other organisations that are offering solidarity.
“After they discovered that Batirai was not home, the agents assaulted his wife and the younger brother as they demanded to know his whereabouts. The two incidents are, however, consistent in the way they attacked, the number of attackers and also the information they demanded.”
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube referred this publication to Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi when contacted for comment.
Nyathi could not be reached for comment.
Abductions or enforced disappearance of government critics has been an established pattern since post-independence.
The State repeatedly denies its involvement, but some critics such as Patrick Nabanyama and Itai Dzamara have never been seen again following their abduction in 2000 and 2015, respectively.
In a related manner, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on Sunday urged authorities to desist from the use of “State machinery” to instil fear into citizens ahead of the July 31 protests.
“In exercising the right to demonstrate, public order and public health should be taken into account and allowed to take precedence.
“Citizens should therefore in all instances exercise their rights responsible and reasonably with due regard for the rights and freedoms of other persons in particular the right to life which is absolute,” the ZHRC said in a statement.
“… the State through its apparatus should desist from inflicting constitutionally proscribed measures such as torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment on dissenting political voices.”