Tsvangirai’s former aide abducted
By Violet Gonda
9 December 2008
The MDC reports that Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was abducted on Monday while talking to a relative in Msasa Park, Harare.
Mudzingwa was taken away by nine gunmen in six vehicles and ‘eyewitnesses at the scene of the incident said Mudzingwa was shoved into one of the Mazda 626 vehicles, which drove off towards the city centre.’
There are a growing number of abductions in Zimbabwe that have so far seen the disappearance of 17 MDC supporters, including a two year old baby girl abducted together with her mother Violet Mupfuranhehwe. Three civic activists from the Zimbabwe Peace Project, including the group’s director Jestina Mukoko, have also been abducted and are still missing.
The MDC believes there is a systematic plot to decimate the MDC party structures and leadership, and civil rights groups involved in compiling dossiers on violence and human rights abuses. The party warned the continued onslaught on the MDC and civic society threatens the dialogue process, as the political rights and basic freedoms of citizens is guaranteed in the Global Political Agreement.
However the lack of visibility from the MDC leadership is beginning to draw criticism from Zimbabweans. Many are astonished with how much Robert Mugabe is getting away, especially against MDC activists, and yet MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has not been seen making public statements denouncing this behaviour by the regime. Most of the MDC leadership is currently out of the country and people are concerned that Mugabe has succeeded in silencing them.
One commentator who prefers to remain anonymous said: “Zimbabweans have no idea what to do. And what is Morgan Tsvangirai doing? Is he in exile? Is Tendai Biti in exile? Jacob Zuma has now re endorsed the GNU, so SADC isn't going to do any more, and the AU remains, as ever, silent.”
The commentator added: “No one is coming to rescue us, not the UN, not the AU, no army or international policeman is coming. We are on our own. And we are not at the bottom yet, there is no bottom!”
Another analyst said Tsvangirai does not necessarily have to be in Zimbabwe, but he has to find a way of remaining visible, as people’s anger and frustration against the Mugabe can easily backfire against him.
After many attempts to try to get comment from the MDC, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson George Sibotshiwe told SW Radio Africa that the leader is in Botswana working on a regional diplomatic effort to ensure that there is a long lasting solution in Zimbabwe and to bring humanitarian relief.
Sibotshiwe denied the leader was in exile. “He will be speaking to the press tomorrow and I can understand that people have not heard from him for a few days but he has been working on the crisis,” the spokesperson said.