Families of missing opposition legislator, youth leaders petition High Court to ascertain whereabouts amid abduction fears

THE families of an opposition MDC-Alliance party legislator and two
youth leaders on Thursday 14 May 2020 filed a habeas corpus
application in the High Court seeking an order to compel police
officers and other state security agents to investigate and ascertain
the whereabouts of the trio.

In an application filed at High Court by Jeremiah Bamu, a member of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, representatives of the families of
Harare North legislator Hon. Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and
Netsai Marowa, stated that their family members went missing on
Wednesday 13 May 2020 after they were arrested at a check point
mounted by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members and some members of
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) along Samora Machel Avenue while on their
way into Harare’s central business district from Warren Park
high-density suburb.

Mamombe raised alarm advising that they were detained at Harare
Central Police Station but upon arrival at the police station the
lawyers were told that the trio was not detained there while searches
by lawyers at various police stations such as Milton Park,
Rhodesville, Milton Park, Mbare, Matapi, Stodart and Braeside Police
Stations could not yield anything.

Letters written to ZRP and ZNA by Bamu demanding that the law
enforcement agents account for the whereabouts of Mamombe, Chimbiri
and Marova were not responded to.

Bamu, who listed Home Affairs and Cultural Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe,
Owen Ncube, the Minister of State for National Security in the
President’s Office and Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General
Thandabantu Godwin Matanga and Isaac Moyo, the Director-General of Central
Intelligence Organisation, argued that he believes that there is a
serious risk that the security and life of his clients are in real
jeopardy as they are being detained illegally and in violation of
their rights enshrined in the Constitution and hence the need for the
intervention of the High Court.

The trio’s lawyer wants the High Court to determine the whereabouts of
his clients including advertising within 12 hours of the granting of
the court order on all state media, including on all radio stations,
ZTV, The Herald and The Chronicle and to set up a team of
investigators who shall work closely and in conjunction with lawyers
appointed by ZLHR to search for the missing trio at all places within
Zimbabwe as maybe reasonably practical, and report on such search to
the Registrar of the High Court, on every Friday during office hours.

Kazembe, Ncube, Matanga and Moyo, Bamu said, should also be ordered to
inquire from, and where necessary obtain any such information as may
be necessary for the investigations from mobile phone service
operators to try and locate Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marowa through
tracing the mobile phone numbers that were on their person on 13 May
2020.