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Police Arrest 2 People in Connection With Stoning to Death of CCC Supporter

Zimbabwe Republic Police. (Photo: Nunurai Jena)
Zimbabwe Republic Police. (Photo: Nunurai Jena)

Police say they have arrested two suspects over the killing of opposition CCC activist Tinashe Chitsunge in Glennorah, Harare, by suspected Zanu PF activists on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi tweeted: “Reference is made to the ZRP press statement on the violence which occurred in Riverside area, Glennorah near Tanaka Grounds, Harare on 03/08/23. The Police have arrested two suspects as efforts to account for the remaining suspects continue.”

The callous murder was widely condemned with many people saying it shows that the August 23 elections will not be free or fair.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Farai Marapira, said his party also condemns the killing, adding those responsible must be brought to book.

The Associated Press reports that the opposition CCC offered no evidence to support its claim.

The southern African nation of 15 million people has a history of violent and disputed elections since it gained independence from white minority rule in 1980 following a bloody guerilla war. It will hold general elections on Aug. 23 to chose a president, the parliament and local government councilors.

Ahead of the vote, there have been accusations that the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is using violence and intimidation to crack down on its political rivals.

Fadzayi Mahere, spokeswoman for the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change, said Tinashe Chitsunge was among the party's supporters heading for a rally in a politically volatile township in the capital, Harare, on Thursday when they were “ambushed” by activists from the ruling ZANU-PF party who “assaulted and stoned” them.

Images on social media showed the body of a man wearing the yellow colors of the opposition party lying on the ground in a pool of blood and apparently dead.

Other videos posted on social media purported to show ruling party supporters hurling rocks and stones at a truck carrying CCC followers to the rally in the Glen View township.

Earlier on Thursday, a report by Human Rights Watch titled “Crush Them Like Lice” alleged that there has been “violence, intimidation, harassment, and repression" linked to Mnangagwa's party and aimed principally at CCC members and civil society activists.

“ZANU-PF supporters have engaged in widespread harassment, threats, and acts of violence, preventing opposition parties from staging rallies, mobilizing, campaigning, and associating with supporters across the country,” the New York-based watchdog said.

Mnangagwa took power after a coup in 2017 and won a disputed election in 2018. He and his officials have repeatedly denied allegations that they have overseen a campaign of violence and intimidation ahead of this month's election, with the president often publicly telling his supporters to conduct peaceful campaigns.