Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News Editor
The United States Embassy in Harare has commissioned a documentary promoting the narrative of wanton abductions and human rights abuses in the country, The Herald has learnt.
Impeccable sources told this publication that production of the documentary coincided with the upsurge in fake abductions reported in recent months.
The embassy has since engaged a number of individuals to work on the project which will feature pseudo commentators in the form of opposition politicians and anti-Government civic society organisations.
A meeting to plan for the project took place last Thursday at the US Embassy.
According to our sources, the last meeting resolved to hold another meeting today in which comedienne Samantha Kureva, popularly known as Gonyeti, will attend to narrate her “ordeal” during her alleged abduction.
Attempts to contact the comedienne were fruitless as she was not picking up calls last night.
Among those who attended were a representative of the embassy using the name Ellis, Robson Chere (Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe), Jean Bertrand Mhandu (Student Christian Movement) and Archibald Elias Madiba (Zimbabwe National Students Union).
Others included one Charity (Students Network), Nyatsanza (Media Centre), and Melody, a third year student of Bachelor General in Arts Theatre at the University of Zimbabwe.
The MDC Youth Assembly and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were invited, but did not attend.
“The US embassy invited civil society organisations to send representatives to provide information which would feed into a documentary they intend to compile on victims of alleged human rights abuses by the Government,” said the sources.
Before the meeting tackled the agenda, Ellis told the participants that Washington was worried over Zimbabweans’ lack of impatience in confronting Government head-on “considering the hardships they are facing”.
“In response, the civic society groups attacked Government for allegedly banning the right to demonstrate, citing the recent MDC demonstrations that were proscribed by the police,’’ the sources said.
Ellis is said to have expressed disquiet over the failure by local academics to participate in demonstrations.
According to sources, he claimed the US was worried that there had been no meaningful demonstrations to talk about in tertiary institutions, led by students.
“In the meeting, Ellis called on the delegates to agree on a standard framework for the type of content he was seeking to put in the documentary,” sources told The Herald. “Ellis also informed the meeting that he was going to send such additional information via e-mail and invited the civic organisations to send their proposals for the documentary.
“Ellis asked the CSOs to submit budget proposals for transport, food and other logistical support necessary for the project, giving an example that if ARTUZ intends to interview victims of Government abuse in Gutu they should submit applications to that effect.
“In the same meeting, ARTUZ was given the task to spearhead the project.”