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Clerics call for torture probe

The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) has called for urgent independent investigations into the alleged harassment of two Cowdray Park women and the alleged abduction of three members of the MDC Alliance party.

Ntombizodwa and Nokuthula Mpofu from Cowdray Park were allegedly brutally assaulted while Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were abducted and tortured.

In a statement dated May 17, ZHOCD stated that the findings thereof should be made public with appropriate and swift disciplinary action being instituted against the perpetrators.

“ZHOCD has received with shock and disbelief the news of yet another abduction and inhuman treatment of three young women including a Member of Parliament. The barbaric physical assault, torture, sexual assault, and inhuman treatment points to something against the heart of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and various International Conventions to which Zimbabwe is a signatory,” read the statement.

The religious leaders noted that it is deeply purturbed by insinuations-from some State agents-that the abductions are either stage managed or carried out by an unrecognisable “third force” without substantiating such claims with credible and irrefutable evidence.

“ZHOCD calls for an end to the undermining of the Constitutional rights of citizens in the guise of COVID-19 intervention. The Parliament needs to immediately restore its integrity so that it can exercise its oversight of the Government,” the statement read.

“The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission, and the National Prosecution Authority to exercise their constitutional responsibilities ensuring that the ‘state and every person, including the juridic persons, and every institution and agency of the Government at every level must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out’ in the Zimbabwean Constitution.”

ZHOCD reiterated that all security officers should honourably discharge their duties, while upholding the dignity, decency and sanctity of human life.

Businesses, Civil Society Organizations, Churches, Political Parties and Traditional Leaders were also urged to commit to an urgent petition against arbitrary abduction and torture according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and relevant International Conventions.

“We will continue to offer pastoral support, comfort and protection for all the victims of abduction and brutality. We extend our collective prayers for their  recovery. We also encourage citizens to continue observing and adhering to the measures and regulations of the national lockdown in order to arrest the further spread of the Coronavirus,” the statement read.

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