Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Former Co-Minister of State for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration during the inclusive Government and founding member of the MDC, Mrs Sekai Holland, has said some reports of abduction of opposition and civil society members by alleged State security agents were false.
Mrs Holland, who is National Peace Trust (NPT) board of trustees chairperson, said it was critical for diplomats in the country to first verify abduction claims before circulating messages on social media.
“The National Peace Trust notes with concern statements coming from some quarters of the diplomatic community, civil society and political players on the situation in Zimbabwe,” said Mrs Holland in a statement yesterday.
“Some of these statements border on falsehoods, misinformation and outright malice and have the potential to further derail current fragile multiple peace building initiatives in Zimbabwe, a new and healthy feature which the NPT treasure, after the 52 years of Zimbabweans fear of one another and the painful silence our society has endured.
“Zimbabweans need to take advantage of the new spirit ushered in by the Second Republic to call for peace and to open new spaces for conversations.”
Yesterday, the US Embassy in Harare posted on Twitter that it remains “concerned about more abductions, violence & intimidation in Zimbabwe . . .”
In response to the tweet, irate citizens slammed the US Embassy for fomenting chaos in the country.
Said Nicole Hondo: “We are equally concerned about the . . . sponsorship of terrorism and fake abductions in Zimbabwe, all aimed at regime change.”
Another Twitter user, Simbarashe Shereni, told the US not to meddle in local politics: “Don’t meddle in our politics. You don’t tell us what to do. You stage-manage abductions to try and justify your stance against our beautiful nation.
“We are not that daft. Sadly, you have puppets here. But they will be defeated at all costs.”
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols and some officials reportedly visited MDC-Alliance deputy chairperson Mr Job Sikhala’s Chitungwiza home on the eve of a violent demonstration that had been planned for August 16.
Last week, Ambassador Nichols reportedly flew to Washington after dodging reprimand by Government for his role in the MDC-Alliance’s demonstrations.
Mrs Holland said the NPT — which mainstreams peace with justice, reconciliation and healing in inclusive grassroots sustainable development programmes focusing on children, women, youths, the marginalised and vulnerable — implored parties to refrain from circulating unverified information. She said while the NPT had not investigated all cases of abduction, the incidents involving the abduction of two opposition activists in Mufakose had been “reported out of context”.
“The same has been with the situation involving the youth leader of a political party at the end of the final discussion programme hosted by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and broadcast jointly by the Zimpapers Television Network and the Voice of America on July 31, 2019,” said Mrs Holland. “These two events have drawn unjustified widespread condemnation. Clearly, organisations involved in communicating these incidents have not bothered to investigate.”
Mrs Holland called on political parties to heed President Mnangagwa’s repeated calls for peace and unity.
Women have become targets for attacks, especially those opposed to the MDC-Alliance’s agenda.
Mrs Holland called on the diplomatic community to support the process of establishing the truth by recognising the “good spirit prevailing in the country and condemning all forms of violence in an impartial manner”. She called on political parties to support the dialogue process which was initiated by President Mnangagwa, to find a lasting solution to the challenges confronting the country.