The Zimbabwe Republic Police has confirmed that a Zanu-PF member at the center of two alleged gruesome murders on Saturday in Manyame Park, Chitungwiza, allegedly committed suicide while in police custody.
In a statement, police said Proud Mupambwa (30) was found dead in a cell at St Mary’s Police Station at around 6am Monday.
The late Mupambwa allegedly murdered Lloyd Fambawu (31) and Marko Masenda (37). Elphas Chawira is lucky to be alive as he managed to escape from the marauding Mupambwa who pursued him with an axe but could not catch up with him.
All three deceased are members of the ruling Zanu-PF party and political differences are said to have triggered the horrific act.
Mupambwa was recently elected Zanu PF youth chairman of Chaminuka Four District, Jambawu was the youth political commissar while Masenda occupied the post of secretary for administration in the same district.
Statements gleaned from the police reports say Mupambwa told his wife Sunday night that he wanted to take his own life and claimed that his uncle had been bewitching him.
Jostling for President Robert Mugabe’s position has deepened factionalism in Zanu-PF resulting in intra-party violence. At 91, Mr. Mugabe is the world's oldest president and despite his advanced age, he has refused to name a successor.
Mr. Mugabe has been described by critics as the Machiavelli of Africa with infinite reserves of guile and has always cleverly played one heir apparent against another though this has come at a huge cost for the country and party.
Home Affairs Minister Ignatious Chombo, who is also the ruling Zanu-PF party secretary for administration, said the murder-suicide case is still under investigation.
Local Government Minister and Zanu-PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, is quoted in the Daily News as saying: “As Zanu PF, we condemn any form of violence, we are a democratic party. But I’m still to get full details of what transpired as I have not yet been briefed on what exactly transpired leading to people killing each other.”
Inter and intra-party violence has been on the increase in the country in the past weeks with a number of opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters beaten and detained by the police.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in a press statement said it is concerned by the silence of the political leaders as violence escalates.
ZPP said it is concerned by the deafening silence of the leadership of political parties, particularly the ruling party, on the spate of violence which erupted in various parts of the country in the past few weeks.
As an advocate of sustainable peace, ZPP urged leadership of all political parties to foster peaceful strategies of resolving conflict and publicly, without any equivocation, speak against violence where and when it occurs.
The statement further said, “Continued silence and lack of punitive or redemptive actions on perpetrators only serves to encourage repeated or ‘copycat’ incidences. A strict, bold and consistent zero tolerance stance on any forms of violence should be and must be seen to be upheld by all in private and public spaces.”
Heal Zimbabwe director Rashid Mahiya told Voice of America that the deaths in Chitungwiza are a cause for serious concern. “It’s a very unfortunate incident where three lives have been lost as a result of politics. We also condemn the culture that has been created where political disputes can be solved through violence.”
Intra-party violence has also been on the rise though Zimbabwe's next general election is in 2018.
President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have traded accusations of political violence following the disruption of rally organized by Tsvangirai’s party in Hopley, Harare.
Tsvangirai’s MDC says it has noticed an increase in attacks on its party members.