MDC Alliance Report of the Ad Hoc Committee set up to investigate the allegations made against Bulawayo Province Chair, Tendai Masotcha in the abduction and torture of Tawanda Muchehiwa.
17th November 2020
On the 30th of July 2020, Tawanda Muchehiwa, a student at Midlands State University was abducted in broad daylight in Bulawayo.Tawanda Muchehiwa is a nephew to prominent journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu.When he was abducted by state security agents he was sitting in a white BMW car belonging to Mduduzi Mathuthu, a prominent journalist and he was also in the company of the Bulawayo Province Chairlady, Tendai Masotcha.The abduction of Tawanda Muchehiwa caused a stir in social media and speculation was rife that he had been abducted as a bait to get to journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu who was also wanted by the police.Further, social media speculation emerged linking Tendai Masotcha to the alleged abduction of Tawanda Muchehiwa.The Committee was informed that Tendai Masotcha, like Tawanda was subsequently abducted after her release from the police.The MDC Alliance, (after following the due process requirements of the Constitution that govern disciplinary or investigative action against a National Council member), then established an ad hoc Committee made up of Honorable Concilia Chinanzvavana as Chairperson, Honorable Jameson Timba as Secretary and Advocate Kucaca Phulu as a Committee Member to conduct an inquiry into the allegations against Tendai Masotcha. The Committee has since completed its work and the following are its summary findings which the party had committed would make public.
In conducting its work, the Committee examined all documents relevant to the case including media reports in print, audio and video.In addition, the Committee engaged and interviewed all stakeholders including the family and legal representatives of Tawanda Muchehiwa, Tendai Masotcha and other members of the party.The following are the findings of the Committee:
Our Summary Findings.
- The committee established that other than comments made in social media, no specific complaint was made against Tendai Masotcha directly to the Party either at Provincial or national level by the aggrieved parties namely Tawanda Mucheiwa and or his family members.
- It was the Committee sense that in the absence of a complainant, and in the normal conduct of business, the matter would have ended here.
- Notwithstanding the fact that there was no formal complaint to the Party against our member by the family of Tawanda or anyone for that matter, the Party saw it prudent in the interest of transparency and accountability and the inalienable right of an accused person to due process, the Party resolved to investigate the matter.
- The Committee was unable to independently verify the abduction of Tendai Masotcha. The only unchallenged evidence before it was her sworn affidavit and a medical report indicating injuries sustained.
- A representative and relative of Tawanda interviewed by the Committee indicated that they had no evidence to link the abduction of Tawanda to Tendai Masotcha. In their own words, they said “everything is circumstantial”
- The Committee reviewed an audio of a conversation between Tawanda Muchehiwa and an unnamed person who was working from the printer shop close to where both were arrested, and the unnamed gentleman indicated to Tawanda that some state agents have been aware of his movements and in particular that he was getting his materials printed at that shop. The person in the Print shop also stated there are people who came to view whatever material that where being printed and he said that he knew one of them who was his friend and that he worked for the CIO. It appears therefore on the face of it that State agents had put Tawanda under surveillance over a long period of time and before he had even met with Tendai Masotcha. This evidence was also corroborated by the written submissions made by Tendai Masotcha
- It is the sense of the Committee based on the evidence before it and on a balance of probability that Tendai Masotcha, Tawanda Muchehiwa and Mduduzi Mathuthu were victims of a well orchestrated state sponsored intelligence operation to thwart the 31st July protests by scaring off citizens from peacefully expressing themselves.
After considering the evidence before it, the Committee concludes that there is no conclusive evidence to link Tendai Masotcha to the abduction of Tawanda Muchehiwa.
There is No Smoking Gun.Our Demand for Justice
Having determined the matter, the Committee noted that it is common cause that Tawanda was abducted by agents of the State. The evidence of his abduction was captured on video. Impala Car Rentals has the evidence of those who hired the vehicles that carried out the abduction. Tawanda’s release was only forced on the abductors by a court order. It is also common cause that Mduduzi Mathuthu, a respected and senior journalist was wrongfully hunted and haunted like a common criminal. His only crime was practising his trade. The State must live up to its obligations as set out in section 219 of the Constitution and investigate and bring to book Tawanda’s Muchehiwa’s abductors and tormentors. We also demand justice for Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri. We demand justice for Tatenda Mombeyarara. We continue to demand that the State bring back Itai Dzamara. We further demand an investigation into the extrajudicial killings of Mazwi Ndlovhu and Lavender Chiwaya. The State must stop abusing the rights of citizens including journalists, lawyers and critics of the system. We demand the release of Hopewell Chin’ono. The MDC Alliance remains committed to the fight for freedoms, constitutionalism and the security of persons.
Jameson Timba – Ad hoc Committee Secretary
Concillia Chinanzvavana – Ad hoc Committee Chairperson