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Authorities warn against fake abductions

The growing tendency of peddling false claims of human rights abuses by opposition and non-governmental organisations without even the most basic of checks and with a view to soil the image of the country is causing concern in Government.

The sentiments come after some MDC-Alliance members posted claims on social media that the party’s vice president Mr Tendai Biti had been abducted.

As part of the ploy, the claims were initially supported by several key opposition figures and with a long delay before the MDC-A finally denied the claims.

Senior MDC-A officials such as secretary-general Mr Chalton Hwende and Mr David Coltart were spreading the falsehood that Mr Biti had been abducted at his Harare home on Monday night by suspected State security agents.

And there is a general feeling that the MDC-A in general, and Mr Biti in particular, became complicit by remaining quiet when they knew that no such abduction had taken place, leaving the Government to fend off unfair attacks from social media users.

In a statement on Wednesday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said: “The MDC-A took a long time to respond to the false news before its spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere issued a statement dismissing the fake news.”

He said the latest false abduction coincides with growing calls for the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, principally by the United States.

Minister Kazembe said law enforcement agencies will unearth those behind the peddling of such false narratives and ensure they face the law.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi on Wednesday said police had checked with all police stations and no report of alleged abduction or kidnapping of Mr Biti had been received.

MDC-Alliance spokesperson Ms Mahere later described the reports as fake news.

The claims were that Mr Biti had been seized from his home by heavily-armed men who bundled him into an Isuzu pick-up truck and drove off.

Mr Hwende confirmed the alleged abduction, but Ms Mahere eventually dismissed the reports, adding that Mr Biti was not abducted and was at no point reported missing.

Recently, the MDC-A has been burning the midnight candle, fervently agitating for economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe to stay as the party appears unsettled by Zanu PF which is busy implementing its promises made towards the July 2018 elections.

The MDC-A has recently claimed there was an attack on its leader Nelson Chamisa as it wanted UN Rapporteur Professor Alena Douhan to produce a damning report on Zimbabwe.

The party and Mr Chamisa refused to allow police ballistic experts to examine the car they claimed was shot at.

Such an examination would establish how the shots were fired and would almost certainly find the spent rounds if they had been fired into the car.

After failing to grab the desired attention of Prof Douhan, who was in the country on a 10-day fact-finding mission to assess the impact of the illegal sanctions, the MDC-A leader in cahoots with anti-Government civil society organisations has been preparing damaging dossiers against the country.

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