Profile: Netsai Marova

Netsai Marova is a Zimbabwean human rights activist and MDC Alliance National youth deputy organising secretary. She was abducted for two days at an anti-government protest in May 2020 in Warren Park.

On 13 May 2020 she and two other women, MP Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri, were abducted by masked assailants at a Harare protest against the government’s failure to provide for the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two days later, the women were found, badly injured and traumatised, in Bindura by the side of the road sixty miles from Harare by a local man. They reported having been tortured and repeatedly sexually assaulted.

The saga involving three arrested MDC Alliance officials Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova took a new twist on 9 September 2020 with a video disputing their abduction reports going viral on the internet. The State media documentary alleges that the three politicians faked the demonstration and were not abducted.

According to the documentary the girls were monitored through CCTV cameras and data usage to prove that they were not abducted. The girls are alleged to have gone to a Chicken Inn out to buy food during the day and used data throughout the night during the time they were said to be abducted.

Commenting on the matter Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana said, “We have always maintained that these abductions are fake. I have just seen a disgusting video showing how that trio set out to malign their country through fakery. How many of these so-called abduction are nothing but #AtrocityPropaganda?

Netsai, Joana and Cecilia were arrested and faced charges of lying that they were abducted, as the government claims their allegations are part of a plot to destabilise the country. It is alleged that the three stage-managed an abduction accusing state agents of kidnapping and dumping them at Muchapondwa village in Bindura, Mashonaland Central Province. They were denied bail at their first appearance in court and were back at the Harare Magistrate Court on June 26 for routine remand.

The three were freed after the High Court granted them ZWL$10,000 bail each pending trial on charges of lying to the police and faking abduction. They appealed to the High Court against their refusal of bail, citing severl irregularities in the manner the (lower) court dealt with their application for bail. Justice David foroma allowed the appeal, saying the trio made out a proper case for the granting of their liberty on bail. Arguing for the trio, defence lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama told Justice Foroma that the magistrate misdirected herself in denying his clients bail, treating them as guilty before trial.

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