via ZHRC to probe abduction of activist – The Zimbabwean 21.10.2015
A local trade unionist who was abducted by suspected state security agents in May this year is still missing.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has been approached to investigate the matter, but it is hamstrung by lack of funds.
He is one of many political activists who have disappeared in recent years. Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was kidnapped from her house in Norton and was missing for weeks.
Despite official denials, she was eventually produced in court by the police, having been badly tortured. MDC activist Tonderai Ndira was abducted from his home in broad daylight. His mutilated body was found a few days later on the outskirts of Harare.
Journalist Itai Dzamara, who was staging a public protest in Africa Unity Square against the government, was kidnapped from a barber shop in Harare in March and – despite international outrage – has not been seen since. Before his disappearance Dzamara had personally handed a petition to President Mugabe asking him to step down, saying the majority of people were not satisfied with his leadership.
Researchers say there are no exact figures of how many people have been abducted but what is certain is that thousands have disappeared since Independence. “None of those implicated has ever been brought to justice. Instead President Mugabe issued a blanket amnesty pardoning them,” said Dewa Mavhinga of Human Rights Watch in a recent interview.
Kariborn Nyemba was abducted in May in the sugar cane-growing town of Chiredzi during broad daylight and has been missing ever since. He was an official with the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Workers Union, which had been rocked by power struggles involving Zanu (PF) activists.
Chiredzi West legislator Darlington Chiwa said he had reported the matter to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and it was now under investigation. “I have been informed that President Robert Mugabe has given the nod for the commission to investigate the matter,” he said. “It is disappointing that the Nyemba is still missing when his abductors are known,” he added.
Sources said that soon after his abduction, Nyemba sent a text message to his elder brother Simbarashe, who is the current President of The Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Workers Union, informing him the identities of his adductors.
The sources accused Chiredzi Police officers of not co-operating. This forced the the Nyemba family to approach police commissioner Augustine Chihuri to express their displeasure over the issue.
“We hope the ZHRC will resolve this issue so that I find my young brother alive. We were not happy with the way police were handling the issue since they were failing to use the information we gave them,” said the elder Nyemba.
Commision chairman Elasto Mugwadi said they were now able to investigate all cases of human rights violations in the country. “The secretariat staff is giving us techinical support while a small budget, which was availed last year, will enable us to investigate all cases without fear,” he said. “We had been operating without a budget since 2010, but now all is in place. We are urging the public to come forward with complaints of human rights violation,” he added.