State-sanctioned murders and abductions: The facts

There is no doubt that the abductions and violence currently taking place are State-sanctioned. Below are some of the violent incidents and murders that have been committed, even while high profile meetings were taking place. The facts below put paid to statements by officials in Mnangagwa’s administration that the Zanu PF government’s hands are clean.

In light of the disappearance of the acting President of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, Dr. Peter Magombeyi, the State has sought to cast aspersions and blame other organizations, including the MDC. Yet Zimbabweans have suffered massive violence, abductions and murders at the hands of the State and Zanu PF.

The ED regime cannot claim that the following events were choreographed and that a Third Force was responsible.

1.August 1 violence

The Mnangagwa regime murdered six people while 35 were injured. The duplicitous Mothlante Commission, appointed by none other than Emmerson Mnangagwa himself, found the State to be culpable. The report specifically states that Sylvia Maphosa, Ishmael Kumire, Gavin Dean Charles, Jelous Chikandira, Challenge Tauro and Brian Zhuwawo died of gunshot wounds as a result of the actions of the military and the police.

The August 1 violence and murders were the handiwork of the State and not some purported Third Force.

  1. January 2019 disturbances

In the aftermath of the January 2019 disturbances, some 9 people died at the hands of the State. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, a chapter 14 independent Constitutional Commission, held the State to be liable for the deaths.

The ZHRC reports reads in part: “The findings reveal that in the aftermath of the 14th of January 2019 disturbances, armed and uniformed members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police instigated systematic torture…….In some instances it was also noted that those aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change were also specifically targeted for example Members of Parliament, Councillors and other active members. Torture was perpetrated through beating the men with baton sticks on their backs while they lay on the ground, including falanga.”

The January 2019 murders and violence therefore were perpetrated not by a Third Force but by the State.

  1. Cephas Magura’s murder while a SADC summit was taking place

The Mnangagwa regime says it cannot be held liable for the violence currently taking place as the government cannot commit such dastardly acts during or ahead of crucial summits. Yet the facts confirm that Zanu PF has done it before.

In May 2012, while a SADC summit was in session in Luanda, Angola, Cephas Magura, the MDC chairperson for Ward 1 in Mudzi North was murdered by Zanu PF thugs at Chimukoko Business centre. President Tsvangirai, then the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, had to alert SADC leaders during the summit that one of the party’s supporters had been callously murdered by Zanu PF while the summit was in session.

We flew into the country from a SADC summit for Magura’s funeral and president Tsvangirai delivered a touching eulogy at Magura’s graveside at Botso village in Mudzi North.

Magura was brutally murdered by Zanu PF thugs during a high profile regional summit and this was no Third Force.

  1. The abduction and assault of Hon. Nelson Chamisa at the Harare International airport
    Venue and timing of violence have never mattered to Zanu PF. On 18 May, 2007, Hon. Nelson Chamisa, then the MDC spokesperson, was seized and beaten at the Harare International airport in front of frightened travelers as he headed for a European Union parliamentary conference in Brussels, Belgium. Eight men with iron bars beat him to pulp, took his passport, bags and laptop before speeding off in two cars, one without a licence plate. Seven of his assailants wore suits and one was in an army vest.

Can someone tell us this was Third Force?

5.The brutal assault of President Morgan Tsvangirai and other leaders inside a police station

In May 2007, President Tsvangirai and other senior political and civic leaders were brutally asaulted inside Machipisa police station when they attended a Save Zimbabwe Prayer meeting in Highfield. Mr. Mnangagwa was one of the leaders of this government that perpetrated such heinous crimes inside a police station.

Can he tell us that it was a Third Force that was wearing police uniforms inside Machipisa police station in Highfield on that day?

  1. The murder of Gift Tandare and the seizure of his body

In March 2007 during the Save Zimbabwe Campaign rally, I happened to be fleeing armed police who were indiscriminately shooting people and dispersing them from the prayer meeting on that ominous day in Highfield . Gift Tandare, an MDC activist was just ahead of me as we tried to escape the train of bullets. Suddenly he fell to the ground, dead. A few days later, on 17 March 2007, armed government agents seized Tandare’s body and coffin from Doves funeral parlour for a secret burial to prevent a public funeral. They took the body to Tandare’s rural village in Mount Darwin district, Mashonaland Central, and forced his parents to quietly bury him. Morticians were still working on Tandare’s body when it was seized.

Could this have been a Third Force?

  1. The abduction and murder of Tonderai Ndira

In May 2008, State security agents pulled up at the Mabvuku home of MDC activist Tonderai Ndira and violently took him away, leaving his wife and children petrified. They identified themselves as State security agents. When Ndira’s body was discovered in Goromonzi, his face had been crushed, his left eye had been popped out, his tongue was missing and he had two holes, one just below his rib cage. His body was black with bruises.

The men who abducted him from his house and identified themselves as State security agents were driving a white Toyota single cab registration number 772-224.

Was this a Third Force? How come this purported Third Force is so powerful that none of its members is ever arrested?

  1. The abduction of Jestina Mukoko

Jestina Mukoko is a renowned former broadcaster and now a human rights defender who runs the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a civic organization. Some 11 years ago, in December 2008, she was abducted from her home, tortured and held incommunicado for several weeks.

This was no Third Force. It was the Zanu PF government that had abducted her, in line with its unstinting behaviour to harass any dissenting voice in the country. Jestina later won her case in court and the government was ordered to compensate her.

It was government which compensated her for abduction and torture, not some amorphous Third Force.

  1. The abduction and murder of Joshua Bakacheza

Bakacheza was a driver at the MDC. He was instructed on 25 June 2008 to assist Tonderai’s widow to shift to another residential area as she could not stomach remaining in the house from where her husband had been abducted.

Bakacheza was abducted on the same day in Msasa, Harare, together with another MDC activist, Tendai Chidziwo while assisting Ndira’s widow to shift from Mabvuku. They were stopped by armed gunmen and ordered to get into two unmarked vehicles. Chidziwo was later discovered alive in hospital. The decomposing body of Bakacheza was discovered late on Saturday, 5 July 2008 in a secluded bushy area on a farm in Beatrice, some 30 km out of Harare.

Was this the work of a Third Force?


During the time of the Gukurahundi atrocities in the 1980s, the State abducted and killed many people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. Some government sanctioned reports into these atrocities have never been made public. The Entumbane report is one such example.

Could the government be protecting a Third Force by failing to release such reports of heinous atrocities against innocent and defenceless citizens? If the Mnangagwa administration is really a New Dispensation, why is it still keeping the lid on these reports?

In 2000, Patrick Nabanyama, the election agent of the now MDC Treasurer-General, Hon. David Coltart, was abducted and his whereabouts remain unknown. Itai Dzamara remains missing. The so-called New Dispensation has not given the nation an update on how far investigations have gone.

It is trite to state that the State’s hand is conspicuous in all these murders and abductions that have taken place since 1980.The MDC is a legitimate political player in the country and throughout its 20 year-existence, the party has always been a victim and never a perpetrator of violence.

Zanu PF must explain the current murders and enforced disappearances.

Every day, Mr. Mnangagwa’s administration is working hard to prove that this is no Second republic but an even more brutal continuation of the First. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of citizens and the Mnangagwa administration must own up to its responsibilities.

The State is culpable for the heinous acts against Zimbabweans. The illegitimate, scarfed regime of Mr Mnangagwa must explain the whereabouts of Dr. Peter Magombeyi.

MDC@20: Celebrating 20 years of Courage, Growth and the people’s Victories

Luke Tamborinyoka
MDC Deputy National Spokesperson