The Sunday Mail
In a predictable fashion typical of a scripted docudrama, Zimbabwe woke up to the news of medical practitioner, Dr Peter Magombeyi, having disappeared last Sunday morning. Dr Magombeyi is said to have texted his colleagues that he had been ‘abducted’ by unknown men.
It seemed the ‘abduction’ was timed to coincide with the arrival of the UN Special Rapporteur Clement Voule who is in Zimbabwe for a 10-day visit to assess the human rights situation in the country.
The abduction also came at a time when the nation’s grief over the passing on of founding leader President Mugabe has just subsided after the government held a special funeral service for international dignitaries.
The young doctor, who is also a political activist, is said to have emerged from captivity in Nyabira where he claimed to have been dumped by his abductors.
While the motives for the ‘abductions’ are unknown, there was a lot of furore from some non-governmental organisations, fellow health practitioners and the opposition MDC party ― all demanding the release of the doctor. They all accused the Government of being responsible for the disappearance of the doctor.
Yes, we understand that the State has a responsibility to protect its citizens and to establish the fate of those alleged to have disappeared but it is fallacious on the part of the MDC and its acolytes to weave a narrative of callous Government that goes after its citizens for no apparent reason.
The only reason we feel the MDC and its acolytes rushed to accuse the Government of a hand in the ‘disappearance’ of the doctor is to accentuate spotlight on the country ahead of the visit by the UN human rights rapporteur and the UN General Assembly currently underway in New York.
It surely would be self-defeating for the New Dispensation, whose cardinal pursuits is re-engagement and opening up of democratic space, to be going about abducting its citizens. It certainly is not helpful to the State and anyone suggesting that the Government is in the habit of abducting citizens is permanently stuck in a negative parochial mode of wanting to see Zimbabwe being treated as an outpost of undemocratic practices.
Bereft of any strategic big issue ideas, the MDC and its acolytes are the ones who stand to benefit more from a continued negative perception of Zimbabwe.
What makes it more distressing is that despite the obvious traits of the ‘abductions’ being stage-managed, the MDC and civil society benefactors continue to reward such antics through financial donations. For some in the civil society, faking abductions and clutching to any sectorial grievances has become a profitable past-time.
It is for this reason that the State needs to unravel the falsity behind the so-called abductions and expose the charlatans behind them. It is thus gratifying to note that Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a team to investigate the abductions. Perpetrators must surely be apprehended and face the full wrath of the law.
We tend to agree with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Sibusiso Moyo who last Tuesday said: “The Government under the New Dispensation is totally averred to practices that put lives of citizens in danger. We, therefore, find it very curious that whenever there is an impending international gathering or high profile visit to Zimbabwe, these criminal acts are always perpetrated on our innocent citizens.”
We also concur with opposition leader, Linda Masarira who alleges a link between the abductions and the antics of the opposition MDC party, whose leader Nelson Chamisa, not so long ago feigned an abduction in Ruwa after a campaign rally.
We share the same sentiments with Masarira that as Zimbabweans, we need to move away from politics of setting a bad narrative about our country and start pushing for issues-based politics. Zimbabwe is our only home and our political differences must not lead us to perpetually besmirch our country for the love of a few pieces of silver. We have utmost confidence in our national security apparatus. We are aware that in the end, the culprits behind these ‘abductions’ will be exposed.