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Zimbabwe: Investigate violence on political opposition supporters

Responding to the brutal killing of one supporter of political opposition and the injury of more than a dozen others at a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rally in Kwekwe, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director  for Southern Africa, said:

This assault bears all the hallmarks of a pre-meditated attack that aims to intimidate political opposition and block access to their constituents

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Southern Africa

“This assault bears all the hallmarks of a pre-meditated attack that aims to intimidate political opposition and block access to their constituents ahead of the upcoming by-elections in March.

“The government’s rhetoric has done much to incite such ferocious violence and unfortunately little to ensure the free exercise of the rights to freedom of assembly and association.

Zimbabwean authorities must immediately end the culture of politically-motivated violence by refraining from issuing inflammatory statements that may incite violence

Muleya Mwananyanda

“The Zimbabwean authorities must immediately end the culture of politically-motivated violence by refraining from issuing inflammatory statements that may incite violence and they must ensure an impartial, independent and transparent investigation into this attack. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.”

Background

On 27 February, a machete-wielding gang appeared at Mbizo 4 shopping centre in Kwekwe, where the CCC was holding a political rally.

The gang’s efforts to prevent people from attending the rally soon turned violent. Mboneni Ncube, a 30-year-old man and supporter of the CCC, died after being stabbed, while at least 22 others were seriously injured.

The gang allegedly used not only machetes but also beer bottles, iron bars, spears and bricks to attack supporters while Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the CCC, was giving a speech.

On 26 February, Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, sent a warning to the CCC, saying the ruling ZANU-PF party would “crush the party like lice”.