A call by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday for political tolerance and an end to violence seemed not to be heeded by alleged ZANU-PF activists in the Mbare township of Harare who severely injured an official of the Movement for Democratic Change by dashing scalding hot cooking oil in his face.
Supporters of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party are accused in the attack on Ayaya Kassim, youth chairman in Mbare's 11th ward for the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Mbare, site of a bus terminal, a sports stadium and major flea market, has been a hot spot for political violence, often against Tsvangirai MDC members.
Sources said a group of ZANU-PF militants stalked Kassim to the house of a friend where they splashed hot oil in his face, badly disfiguring him.
ZANU-PF youths backed by liberation war veterans stormed Parliament last week and assaulted an MDC legislator and journalists. No arrests were made in that incident.
Tsvangirai MDC legislator Gift Chimanikire, who visited Kassim in the hospital Thursday, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the victim is in bad shape.
"It can best be described as an act of attempted murder. His face is badly damaged and he may require plastic surgery at some stage," Chimanikire said.
Commenting, political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the latest incident of violence should be a major embarrassment for Mr. Mugabe. "Either he has lost command of his party or his call for peace is hypocritical," Ngwenya said.