MDC-T spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni has pleaded with the state to free MDC Alliance MP, Joanna Mamombe and two female party activists who are languishing in remand prison for ‘falsely’ claiming abductions and torture in the hands of state security agents.
Mamombe and activists, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova made global news recently when they were allegedly seized from the hands of the police by suspected state security agents who drove them out of Harare to treat the three to some cruel acts of physical and sexual torture.
Their abductors, they claim, were accusing them of attempts to overthrow the state through a flash anti-government demonstration they had conducted together with fellow MDC Alliance activists moments before.
The three have appeared in court and further denied bail.
However, at a press conference held at Harvest House (now Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House) Wednesday, the Thokozani Khupe led MDC pleaded with the government to sympathise with the embattled activists.
“I do not know the circumstances beyond their denial of bail, but I am saying the system must be sympathetic to appreciate that these are young ladies,” Phugeni said.
“These are young ladies. They are in their youth and they are youth assembly members and we know that they are impressionable and we know that in politics, youths are used for all sorts of things.
“The legal system must be careful with how they deal with these young people when they are young. If there are mistakes they make, we should appreciate them.
“I am basically making an appeal for their release. I’m saying keep them out until they have been proven guilty by a competent court.”
Phugeni also called on politicians to desist from using women for selfish political gain.
“You will see that women are always sent on the frontline for activism not for the benefit of the country; but for activism that benefits a narrow individual or a political party.
“We are very, very worried about that,” he said.
Phugeni said the MDC-T’s sympathies with activists aligned to its party rivals was not strange as this was consistent with Zimbabweans who have love for one another.