The European Union (EU) ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen has urged the Government to investigate reported cases of enforced disappearances and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Speaking to NewsDay after the fourth EU-Zimbabwe Dialogue meeting in Harare on Tuesday, Olkkonen said:
Zimbabwe, unfortunately, has a history of forced disappearances. We still have reports of disappearances of people.
We encouraged the government to take these allegations seriously and transparently look into them.
We want Zimbabwe to report on its findings and bring the culprits to justice. It needs to be addressed seriously so that the facts behind all the alleged cases are brought to daylight.
We have differences of opinion on how a number of human rights issues are addressed. We hope that Zimbabwe would make more progress on those matters.
However, Foreign Affairs and International Trade ministry secretary James Manzou who co-chaired the fourth EU-Zimbabwe Dialogue meeting said there are no human rights violations in the country. Manzou said:
Zimbabwe doesn’t have any human rights violations. Of course, they would cite certain issues.
Yes, there are areas where we had different views. Even in your family, you have different views, but you sit down and discuss them.
So we used this opportunity to outline the reforms that we are undertaking such as media and electoral reforms.
This was an opportunity to tell them that this is what we are doing.
Olkkonen’s concerns on enforced disappearances came after CCC activist Moreblessing Ali was allegedly abducted by suspected ZANU PF members in Chitungwiza on 24 May.
However, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) released a statement saying Ali’s disappearance had nothing to do with politics.
Police said Ali was having personal issues with her former boyfriend, Pius Jamba, who reportedly dragged her away from a local bar.