from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE kidnapping of the president of a union representing medical doctors is the latest crackdown by the Zimbabwean government against its critics.
Unidentified men suspected to be state security operatives abducted Peter Magombeyi, the leader of the Hospital Doctors Association (HDA) on Saturday night, ironically ahead of International Day of Democracy.
It is marked yearly on September 15.
Magombeyi’s welfare had not been ascertained at the time of publication.
His abduction is seen as a ploy by authorities to intimidate disgruntled doctors against staging a protest against poor working conditions.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) noted the kidnapping came in the wake of abductions of human rights doctors, who had been tortured and left for dead.
“In all incidents of abductions, police reports have been made, but there have been no tangible updates on investigations,” ZLHR decried.
The lawyers group disclosed 23 people, mostly trade unionists, were currently facing charges of overthrowing the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Ruling party supporters have reportedly threatened lawyers representing the accused.
Police allegedly assaulted and arrested lawyer Doug Coltart recently for what fellow lawyers believe is for his work in representing the suspects.
The escalation in infringements coincides with the death of former president, Robert Mugabe.
Scores of activists were kidnapped, tortured and others killed during his 37-year stay in power from 1980.
Among those kidnapped without trace include journalist Itai Dzamara, who was kidnapped in 2015.
Mugabe was overthrown in a coup. His successor Mnangagwa pledged to uphold human rights but critics accuse him of maintaining his predecessor’s iron-fisted rule.
– CAJ News