Amnesty International urges probe into Murehwa attacks on CCC supporters
By Staff Reporter
HARARE – Amnesty International has urged a probe into the brutal assault on a group of elderly villagers by suspected Zanu PF supporters who found them conducting a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) meeting in rural Murehwa, a hotbed for political violence.
In a statement Monday, the global rights defender condemned the attack which looked to have been filmed by one of the assailants in a video that has since gone viral.
“This callous, politically motivated attack against older people who had simply attended a gathering for a political opposition party is outrageous,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa Flavia Mwangovya said.
“Such cruel acts of violence, which have repeatedly marred Zimbabwe’s political landscape in the past, gravely threaten the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
“These attacks are clearly intended to harass and intimidate members of political opposition in the months leading up to Zimbabwe’s upcoming election and could have a chilling effect throughout the country.”
Mwangovya called on Zimbabwean authorities to investigate the abuses, which have been met with condemnation across the wide spectrum of society.
“The Zimbabwean authorities must take all necessary steps to prevent acts of politically motivated violence and refrain from issuing inflammatory statements that could incite similar attacks or deter people from expressing support to political parties of their choice,” Mwangovya said.
“The Zimbabwean authorities must also urgently launch a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these assaults and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials.
“They must also fully respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in the lead up to, during and after the upcoming election.”
Zanu PF has denied any of its members committed the acts with party provincial chair for Mashonaland East Daniel Garwe saying the ghastly incident was a piece in the opposition’s “propensity to stage-manage political violence incidents ahead of elections”.
“The possibility that the Murewa incident was also stage-managed to draw negative international attention should not be discounted at this point,” Garwe said in a weekend statement.
Police have said they were investigating the incident. _ ZimLive