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Zimbabwe Rights Groups Condemn Attack on Opposition Faction Officials

Zimbabwean human rights groups Wednesday condemned the attack this weekend in the Mabvuku district of Harare on officials of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara.

The Human Rights NGO Forum, which assembles 16 rights advocacy groups, denounced what it called a “savage and barbaric attack,” urging that all political parties respect “democratic processes and the constitutional entitlements of the people.” The human rights umbrella group urged authorities to prosecute the perpetrators.

Reports also said Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust Director David Chimhini has announced plans to probe the attack, which left the parliamentarian for Harare North, Trudy Stevenson, with serious injuries. Three other members of the Mutambara faction were also hurt by assailants wielding machetes, clubs and stones.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was unable to comment on the official investigation into the incident in the MDC stronghold.

The MDC faction led by party founding president Morgan Tsvangirai has announced its own internal investigation, and stated that it does not engage in or condone violence.

Parliamentarian Stevenson, released from Harare’s Avenues Clinic late Wednesday, said she consult her lawyers about the incident. She gave Studio 7 reporter Carole Gombakomba an account of the attack by about a dozen people which took place as Stevenson and several colleagues departed from a political meeting.

A spokesman for Tsvangirai, William Bango, disputed Stevenson’s allegation that differences on political violence led to the MDC split in October 2005.

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