ONE question that people who accuse the Government of Zimbabwe of complicity in the alleged abduction and torture of citizens have not attempted to answer is: For what benefit?
What does the Government stand to gain from torturing people for actions, which on the face of it, are indicative of someone breaking the law?
Why not just prosecute them, send them down and deter others?
Some say the intention is to intimidate, but surely arresting and getting a conviction would achieve a more desired effect than actions that are assured of attracting negative publicity.
Why would a State torture people for participating in a much-flopped demonstration?
There is no rhyme nor reason for the Government to do that because doing so would be shooting itself in the foot.
On the contrary, some stand to gain from playing the spoiler through inflicting a reputation damage on the Government of Zimbabwe.
These are people that swore to “throw sand on all Government efforts” to ensure that Zimbabwe will remain an international pariah.
Why is the so-called international community rushing to the conclusion that the Zimbabwean State is culpable, but when accused of the same thing, they rush to say there is no evidence? If theories and conclusions should follow evidence, what evidence do they have against the Government of Zimbabwe?
Let us work with two logical theories; firstly that somebody else is pulling the strings and we are dealing with another black operation (black ops).
Secondly, those things did not happen as alleged and not at the hand of the recklessly accused.
There are too many lingering questions over the whole case. The three women disappeared on Wednesday night.
They alleged torture by two people, all Wednesday night. So, they did not sleep.
Maybe sleep deprivation is a known torture method.
How about their tormentors? They did not sleep too? How did they spend Thursday daytime? Where were they? In that pit in the bush? Where again were their tormentors?
How about their car? Was this car parked in a paying bay all those days and nobody clamped, toured away or ticketed the car or it had just been parked deliberately within distance of the charge office? Why?
Why is the car registered in the name of a person whose history indicates confidence trickery?
Are we dealing with dark propaganda here? This is a very big possibility. There is a big chance that Zimbabwe is dealing with dark, contrived propaganda produced for the world audience with a very damaging effect.
This is being used to mobilise the world opinion against President Mnangagwa’s Government and render the current re-engagement efforts futile.
We are confronted by serious negative messaging designed to influence the behaviour and attitudes of a gullible West to achieve a narrow political end.
One may ask why the West is characterised as “gullible”?
Well, throughout the onset of the millennium when people were seeking asylum in the West, alleging political persecution, the truth is that the West was a sucker for the histrionics. Nearly 100 percent of all successful asylum claims were based on fake allegations of political persecution in Zimbabwe. Very convincing evidence was produced to buttress false claims and the Western Authorities naively fell for it.
Are we back there again in these abduction allegations?
A grand narrative of abductions has been clumsily built and now it is harvest time.
Sometime last year we saw a prominent leader of an opposition party attacking some people in their own car and yet started claiming that this was an attempt to abduct him. He was actually restrained when he went berserk and in a car and started assaulting the occupants.
Clearly, there was no attempt to abduct him. Why did the West not issue statements against this cry wolf behaviour?
Next was a junior doctor who also made widely discredited allegations of abduction. He is thought to be in some Western city now. It worked and his gamesmanship paid.
Again, even in this case, ambassadors issued statements whose tone gave Government absolutely no benefit of the doubt. Why did they not learn from this?
In the latest case, it is not remiss to ask oneself why the alleged victims are not fully co-operating with the police and instead of seeking justice, are calibrating a message calculated to derive a maximum damage on the Zimbabwean State.
This includes smuggling journalists onto their ward, ignoring all measures put in place to curtail transmission of the coronavirus. There is the possibility of a strategic use of claims of the heinous crime of rape to trigger international revulsion.
Rape and any form of abuse against women should rightly invoke intense disgust, but this rightly placed sentiment should not itself be abused as a political weapon where no such repugnant deed would not have happened.
It undermines the fights against the odious crime.
There is no doubt in the mind of this writer that what faces this Government is a case of a serious smear campaign. The perpetrator is either the opposition or some remnants of the previous regime who are still quite bitter and cannot stomach to see the success of President Mnangagwa’s policies including that of re-engagement.
There is also a possibility that these parties are working together in orchestrating their dark arts.
What this piece will affirm, in no uncertain terms, is that the Government of Zimbabwe did not do this.
The question is for how long will those in rapprochement with us continue to accept untruthful accusations against us without mortally damaging the efforts being made to mainstream this country into the community of nations?
Whilst it will benefit the people of Zimbabwe more for the coercive instruments being brought to bear on their country to be eased, it will benefit no one to have this sustained. Even the opposition, which is looking for short-term political dividend from a stuttering economy will not benefit from the retention of sanctions.
It has not worked for 20 years; it will not work even for another.
Yes, the economy may be decimated, but there will hardly be anyone who will gain from that scenario.
In propaganda parlance, Zimbabwe is faced with both atrocity propaganda and agitation propaganda.
Atrocity propaganda is the use of content or graphic imagery which is meant to portray an adversary as barbaric or a savage to a targeted audience (the West) to arouse sympathy towards the propagandist and extreme disgust towards the alleged perpetrator.
Now, this writer has lived in the West for over 20 years and understands the Western psyche and this, they will fall for, and going by the “joint statements” we have seen, they fell for it hook, line and sinker!
What next? We are going to see the use of children at some point in the near future.
This is because next to rape and other depraved sexual crimes, is atrocious acts against children.
The way things are moving, one would not be surprised to see children used in the dark arts being employed in the atrocity propaganda against the Government of Zimbabwe.
As shocking as this possibility appears at face value, we are dealing with an audience, which never stops for a second to question the integrity of what it is being fed.
We have moved from torture to rape soon it will be children and mutilation as indicators of “how barbaric the Zimbabwe regime is”.
It is not an exaggeration to say our country is now in a propaganda war.
We are going to be accused of the most atrocious outrages as part of this fervent effort to smear President Mnangagwa and mess up efforts to engage and re-engage.
Since there was a mention of agitation propaganda, it may help to define it.
Agitation propaganda is use of content, which is meant to foment some revolution or uprising of some sort.
Of course, this has proved to be an exercise in futility in Zimbabwe, but that does not stop the vice chairperson of one opposition party from keeping on trying even though he has failed for 21 years.
Given the above, the intention of this thug in a suit is not to take power but to provoke and tarnish.
The disappointing thing is the ready receptivity of the West to cheap atrocity propaganda.
Why are they ready to believe we are a Government of dumdums, which cuts down a tree branch that we are sitting on?
Are they being deliberately naive or sincere suckers for melodramatic behaviour designed to attract their attention?
Nick Mangwana is the Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services