By Margaret Kamba
The recently alleged abduction of the MDC officials has generated an obvious interest by the Heads of Mission of the European, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the Heads of Mission for Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America evidenced by their statement dated Friday 20 May, 2020.
This has also been followed by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho’s tweet “I join the Heads of Mission in calling for thorough and credible investigations and prosecutions of human rights abuses in #Zimbabwe, to include the abduction and torture of Hon. Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova last week.”
What makes this whole thing so calculated are the events within the MDC camp over the past few months which have seen coffers running dry, Court cases going sour and the recent acknowledgement by Nelson Chamisa of the composition of the MDC Alliance. Their seemingly desperate situation can easily pass off for anything and warrant any action in order to seek relevance and for survival.
In a statement the Heads of Mission wrote, “The Heads of Mission expect from the Zimbabwean government a swift and thorough and credible investigation into the abduction and torture of opposition member of parliament Joana Mamombe, along with Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova and allegations of the assault on Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu in Bulawayo. The perpetrators of heinous acts of this kind and other human rights violations need to be identified and prosecuted.
The Zimbabwean constitution prohibits enforced disappearances, torture, violence against women, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Heads of Mission exhort the Zimbabwean authorities to respect these fundamental rights and full adherence to Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations.
The Heads of Mission further urge all protagonists to resolve political conflicts through constructive dialogue and remain clear that international re-engagement is contingent on genuine and sustained implementation of political and economic reform.”
To the lay man these seem real and pertinent as seen through the various twitter messages about abuse of women’s rights being topical and garnering the much needed sympathy and hopefully for the MDC funding.
However the question is what human rights do these countries want to teach Zimbabwe looking at the historical human abuse trail?
Once upon a time the Africans auction sale advert of January 10 1855 in the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade read: “3 bucks aged from 20-25 able-bodied, 1 wench sallied aged 42 excellent cook, 1 wench live aged 23 with 6 month old picinniny, one buck aged 52 good kennel man, 17 bucks aged from 12-to 20 excellent.”
Once upon a time Eye Witness to History and Slaves for Hire: Renting Enslaved Labourers in Antebellum Virginia highlighted that “Slaves remained locked up awaiting the sale and before the sale, potential buyers were given a chance to inspect them pulling their mouths to see their teeth, pinching the limbs to check how muscular they were even walking them up and down to detect if they were lame.”
Once upon a time Oliver Ransford, in the book The Slave Trade: The story of Transatlantic Slavery chronicled “The physical examination was conducted on the open shore even to the smallest member and that naked too, both men and women, without the least distinction or modesty and most observers were impressed by its crudity.”
Once upon a time a negative turn of events during the Translantic Slave Trade witnessed the kidnapping of men, women and children in order to satisfy the demand by the West. What human rights do these Heads of Mission want to talk about when a violation of those human rights is a permanent mark of their history and mere existence?