Zimbabwe: We Were Never Abducted – CCC Activists
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists Joana Mamombe and Cecelia Chimbiri have flip-flopped, sensationally claiming in their defense plan that they never told anyone that they had been abducted and tortured by police in May 2020 when their trial opened at Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
Mamombe and Chimbiri, accused of publishing or communicating lies harmful to the state, also deny telling friends, lawyers or relatives that they were abducted on May 13, 2020.
This goes against their earlier claims that they contacted their lawyers after they were allegedly abducted. According to the state, Mamombe and Chimbiri’s accomplice, Nestai Marova was interrogated on May 19, 2020 and told a Chafa detective that she had been abducted and tortured.
Marova is on the police wanted list after fleeing the country to escape trial. Mamombe and Chimbiri were then interviewed on May 25, 2020.
The about-face unfolds in the magistrates’ court where experts have revealed that cellphones believed to belong to the CCC activists were active on the internet and various other social media platforms at the time the pair were taken away by police on their way to Harare and later abducted and taken to an unknown destination where they were allegedly tortured before being dumped in Musana, Mashonaland Central Province.
According to a state witness, the two cellphone numbers were actively browsing the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchart and Instagram between 2:39 p.m. and 10 p.m. when Mamombe and Chimbiri claimed they were in the hands of police. .
This was stated by State Witness, Mr. Tapera Christopher Kazembe, Spectrum Manager at the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).
He was testifying during the trial where Mamombe and Chimbiri allegedly faked their kidnappings in May 2020.
Mr. Kazembe, who previously worked at TelOne and Econet before working as a consultant at Ericson in the diaspora, commented on the data collected from Econet in relation to the use of the network.
He told the court that the information obtained from the use of this data is correct and reliable.
“The information is pulled from the Econet network, including the date and time, and some of us let Econet update the time automatically on our cellphones.
“Econet is reasonably accurate. It may not be last minute accurate but normally accurate and can be used by anyone,” he said.
But through their lawyer, the duo said they never communicated with anyone.
“The defendants will tell the court that they never told a relative, friend or lawyer that they had been abducted. This is an account told by the police and the state in the purpose of abusing the accused.
“As things stand, there is a judgment of the High Court in which a finding of fact is made that the defendant did not communicate to anyone that he had been abducted as alleged or not at all.
“The defendants will further tell the court that from the very beginning of this case, they asked for details of who they communicated with and what the exact communication was.
“This request has been refused on several occasions. They are therefore paralyzed in their defense and can only say that they did not communicate or publish to any lawyer(s) that they had been abducted.
“They put the State to strict proof of this allegation, in particular they challenge the State to produce the proof of the lawyer or lawyers they allege and to produce the proof of the communication which they allege”, they have declared.
Mamombe and Chimbiri denied communicating with anyone close to them about the alleged abduction.
“They did not communicate or publish to any friend that they had been abducted.
“They put the State to the strict proof of this allegation. In particular, they challenge the State to bring the proof of the friend (s) they allege and to produce the proof of the communication they allege “, they said.
The duo also said that none of the communications they made at the material time were false or incited violence.
“None of their communications incites or promotes public disorder or public violence or endangers public safety.
“None of their statements undermines public confidence in any law enforcement agency, prisons and corrections or the Zimbabwe Defense Force as alleged or at all.
“They challenge the state, not only to prove the alleged communication, but also to prove how it undermines public trust in a law enforcement agency, prisons and corrections or the defense forces of the Zimbabwe,” they told the court.
Mamombe and Chimbiri said the police forced them to record their warning and caution statements when receiving treatment at the hospital.