Crackdown on activists intensifies ahead of July 31 protests

POLITICAL activists in Bulawayo have said the alleged abduction of opposition political party members and activists is an attempt to close the democratic space and clamp down on dissent.

The abductions of opposition members come ahead of the planned July 31 nationwide demonstrations.

Addressing the Zanu PF Politburo in Harare, on Wednesday President Mnangagwa vowed to crush the opposition protests.

In Bulawayo, so far this week about five political activists were targeted and had their homes broken into.

These include MDC Alliance Youth Assembly National Executive Member, Takunda Madzana who was allegedly abducted Monday and tortured.

On Tuesday, another party member Nyasha Musundire was said to have been abducted from his Sizinda home and taken to a bush in Pumula South where he was allegedly stripped naked and tortured and was later dumped at the Nkulumane 12 traffic lights.

Musundire is said to be popular within the party after he saved party president, Nelson Chamisa from taking a poisoned drink

Political activist, Josphat ‘Mzaca’ Ngulube was reportedly not at his home when it was allegedly broken into and property destroyed while another activist, Ottilia Sibanda was also allegedly abducted from her home.

Sibanda told CITE in an interview that unknown assailants came to her house in Sizinda and bundled her into a car and later dumped her along the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway.

“The assailants first came to my home on Tuesday morning but I was not there. My family said the same car that came yesterday is the same one that came on Wednesday morning while I was fixing my yard. The assailants grabbed and threw me into a blue Honda Fit.

“They drove towards Plumtree as if they are going towards Mbokodo Butchery. They parked for some time as they were communicating with some other people on the phone, who ordered them to leave me there. I had to find my way to come back home,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda said the assailants were using both Ndebele and Shona to converse.

Otillia Sibanda recounts her ordeal

Opposition activists said these abductions and attempts showed that the state is stepping up efforts to stifle dissent, thereby exposing the fragility of democracy in a country still struggling to shake off the legacy of military rule.

MDC Alliance Bulawayo Provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza

MDC Alliance Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza, alleged the state, was against public criticism.

He said he survived an abduction attempt at his home after six men stormed his home on Thursday morning looking for him.

“I had a premonition that I may be attacked and left my home securing my children there. The assailants came rolling in twin cabs and removed light bulbs at the cottage. They broke into one of the bedrooms and gained access to the whole house. They took beverages, my children phones, power banks and other small items. Before they left they told my children to tell me they ‘will kill me,’”

The MDC Alliance spokesperson claimed these assailants could be state agents.

“I suspect these people are from state security because the modus operandi of abduction, of late have followed a pattern where people connected to the MDC Alliance are the ones picked up for harassment tortured and dumped in faraway places,” he said.

Chirowodza said the way forward was the opposition reiterated its stance that security forces in Zimbabwe should not be partisan or serve a particular political party.

“Security forces must serve Zimbabwe. We remain uncompromised on our stance and this country will help the country prosper,” he said.

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