MDC Press Release --Three MDC activists who were part of over 40 MDC activists abducted last October were released from custody last week after spending more than four months in illegal detention.
Fani Tembo, Lloyd Tarumbwa and Mrs. Terry Musona were abducted in pre dawn raids from their homes between 30 and 31 October 2008 in Banket, Mashonaland West province.
The three are part of over 40 MDC and civil society activists who were abducted on trumped up charges of banditry and recruiting MDC youths for terrorism training in neighbouring Botswana in an effort to topple the Zanu PF government.
According to Tembo, Tarumbwa and Musona they were severely tortured and subjected to inhumane treatment by State security agents during their illegal detention in a bid to force them to confess to the false charges.
Tembo is a Councillor for Ward 22, Zvimba South and MDC district organizing secretary while Tarumbwa is a co-ordinator for Ward 22 and Musona is the Mashonaland West provinces’ vice secretary.
“We were tortured, denied food and medical attention during our entire period of illegal detention,” said Musona who is now receiving medical attention following the gruesome torture.
Although they could not positively identify the perpetrators, all the three managed to implicate one Chief Superintendent Magwenzi as the leader of the torturers.
“Most of the days we were forced to sleep on a cold floor, hungry and blind folded,” she said.
“We had one meal a day, which consisted handful of sadza and a very tiny piece of meat,” said Tembo.
The abductees said they were constantly moved from house to house in order for them not to detect where they were being kept during their four-month isolation.
“The windows were always shut and curtains drawn. However, we knew that it was in Harare and the only place we managed to identify was the Police Golf Club as we were taken there for regular interrogations and we had our blinds taken off,” said Tarumbwa.
The three would plead on several occasions for them to be brought to court so that if they had committed any crimes they would be charged but this never happened.
“In fact when we told the persecutors that we wanted access to a lawyer or to be brought before the courts we were severely beaten, threatened with death and denied food for up to two days,” said Tarumbwa.
They were released last week without any charges pressed against them but were only forced again to sign affidavits. They were taken away quietly at night and dumped some kilometres outside Banket. They had to complete the rest of the journey on foot.
However, despite the severe ill-treatment that they went through, the three vowed to The Changing Times Online that they would remain true cadres of the democratic struggle.
At least 30 of the detainees including Zimbabwe Peace Projects (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko and Concillia Chinanzvavana, the MDC Women’s Assembly Mashonaland West provincial chairperson were brought before the courts and remanded in custody at Chikurubi Maximum and Harare Remand Prisons.
Among the abducted MDC activists was a two year old boy Nigel Mutemagawo who was abducted with his parents Violet Mupfuranhehwe and Collen Mutemagawo.
However, despite repeated denials by the MDC, the Botswana government and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe that these were flimsy charges, the Zanu PF government continued to illegally detain and torture the abductees.
Zanu PF also refused to comply with numerous court orders for the accused to be released or to receive proper treatment from hospitals following reports of excessive torture at the hands of State security agents.
The MDC is also worried about the whereabouts of seven other MDC activities that were abducted last year and are still missing.
These are Gwenzi Kahiya – abducted 29 October 2008 in Zvimba, Ephraim Mabeka – abducted 10 December 2008 in Gokwe, Lovemore Machokoto – abducted 10 December 2008 in Gokwe, Charles Muza – abducted 10 December 2008 in Gokwe, Edmore Vangirayi – abducted 10 December 2008 in Gokwe, Graham Matehwa – abducted 17 December in Makoni South and Peter Munyanyi – abducted 13 December 2008 in Gutu South.
Other three political detainees, MDC head of security, Chris Dhlamini, former personal aide to MDC President and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Gandi Mudzingwa and photo journalist Andreson Manyere are still in detention.