BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The mystery surrounding Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) acting president Dr Peter Magombeyi deepened yesterday following revelations that doctors are investigating the possibilty that he was injected with an unknown substance.
Magombeyi was allegedly abducted from his Harare home last week on Saturday.
He was found allegedly disoriented on Thursday in Nyabira, about 40km from Harare, and has been detained at a hospital in the capital undergoing medical tests.
His lawyers and doctors were reluctant to talk about his condition yesterday after Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema issued thinly-veiled threats against groups that were “interfering” in police investigations.
One of Magombeyi’s lawyers, however, told this publication last night that there were strong indications that the youthful doctor was injected with an unknown substance by his alleged abductors.
“The doctors have extracted pathological samples from Magombeyi and we are now waiting for the lab results of the tests conducted,” said the lawyer, who requested to remain anonymous.
“We will advise you when the medical affidavit has been signed.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday said the abduction was staged and equated it to terrorism. Mnangagwa’s comments drew an angry response from doctors.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights spokesperson Fortune Nyamande said the government as an interested party must remain neutral during investigations.
“The State is a concerned actor and if they want objectivity into these matters, they can appoint an independent committee to investigate all the reported cases and consider merits or demerits of each case,” he said.
“Such assertions will obliterate objectivity and deny the victims of such gruesome experiences justice and closure.
“We urge the State to ensure that rights to have a medical practitioner of the patient’s choice are equally respected.
“All this must be done in an ethical manner that safeguards the patient’s privacy and proffer an environment conducive for speedy rehabilitation and recovery.”
Civic groups and the opposition MDC Alliance blamed state security agents for Magombeyi’s abduction.
MDC vice-chairperson Job Sikhala, who was abducted from a police station in 2003 and was subjected to electrocution on the feet, genitals, tongue and ears, yesterday said Magombeyi’s ordeal was similar to his.
“A person who has not experienced it will pontificate nonsense on denying something that he or she has not gone through,” he said.
“When we were tortured on the 13th of January 2003, we were taken out of Harare Central Police Station and blindfolded and driven to a place we didn’t know at the material time, which we were later informed that it was at the Kabrit Barracks along Seke Road.
“Like exactly the explanation by Dr Peter Magombeyi, we were led into an underground bunker two floors downwards.
“We were electrocuted from our feet, genitals, tongue and an electric shock into our ears.”
In 2008 Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko went missing for 21 days after being abducted by seven State security agents from her Norton home.
The government initially denied charges that it was behind the the abduction, but former State minister Didymus
Mutasa later admitted that Mukoko’s assailants were State security agents.
Meanwhile, the strike by doctors over poor working conditions continued throughout the country yesterday with hospitals turning away patients.