CITIZENS’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa (pictured) has called for the African Union (AU) and SADC to immediately act before Zimbabwe is plunged into bloodshed following the murder of an opposition party activist by suspected Zanu PF supporters in Kwekwe on Sunday.
One person identified by police as Mbongeni Ncube, a 35 year-old father of one from Mbizo, was confirmed dead on Monday after suspected Zanu PF activists besieged a CCC rally in the Midlands province leaving dozens injured.
Police confirmed that at least 16 suspected Zanu PF activists have since been arrested and investigations are underway.
Chamisa said Zanu PF was itching for bloodshed and if no action is taken, Zimbabwe will plunge into unprecedented violence reminiscence of the 2008 carnage that saw hundreds of MDC-T supporters dead and thousands maimed.
“A dark cloud over the nation of Zimbabwe as we mourn the passing on of a very important citizen whose life has been cut short by political intolerance, a culture of violence that has been promoted with impunity and immunity,” Chamisa said.
“We are saying it is time to draw a line in the sand. We are saying enough is enough. We can’t continue to lose lives on account of politics,” he fumed during a press conference Monday afternoon a day after the Kwekwe chaos.”
Chamisa said Zanu PF was clear on its intention to make Zimbabwe ungovernable and create a conducive environment for them to engage in acts of corruption.
The Kwekwe chaos came hardly a day after thousands of the CCC supporters were blocked by police from attending a rally Chamisa was expected to address in Gokwe.
“It is now a political tinderbox, the political situation in the country is worsening, the dark cloud has once again formed and you can see the whole purpose is intended to plunge the country into bloodshed, vulnerability, incessant instability and of course that paves way for those who would want to raid state coffers and those who would want corruption to thrive,” he said.
Chamisa had tough questions for President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying : “How do you think the young people will react to your suppression and how do you think they will feel when you continue to put on the jacket that you are putting on, the jacket of dictatorship? How do you feel Mr Mnangagwa? You always are proud that you fought for the liberation of this country but there is a difference between liberation and oppression.”
“What we are seeing is opposite of that liberation. Is it not the same that you went through under Smith where you were suppressed? Does it even visit your mind that one day you will wake up and you will not be in government? Does it even visit your mind that you also have children and family that have to live in a free and happy Zimbabwe?” Chamisa asked.
“What does this do when you terrorize other people’s families why haven’t you even bothered to visit the Ncube family and pay condolences? That heartlessness is what is going to be a big challenge for the country to move forward.”
“They wanted bloodshed and I was informed prior that they wanted to do this. I am reliably informed that the police were aware.”
“We cannot have a repeat of 2008. We cannot have a repeat of the scenes we have seen in the region where there is instability. To our church, I urge you to pray so that we don’t have the demon of violence does not engulf our country. We don’t want bloodshed.”
The violence has been widely condemned with the United Kingdom Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson saying: “Concerned by reports of violent attacks on opposition supporters at a rally in Kwekwe this weekend. Vital that perpetrators are brought to justice and that all parties can campaign freely without fear of violence.”
Over 130 vacant parliamentary and council seats fell vacant when several politicians were recalled after Chamisa lost a legal battle for the control of the MDC while other slots arose after legislators died. By-elections to fill the posts are slated for 26 March.
The Australian Embassy in Harare also issued a statement saying reports of violence and murder of a CCC activist was concerning and confirmed the need for the government to respect people’s freedoms.
“Reports of political violence and alleged murder very concerning. Underscores the importance of freedom of speech and assembly and accountability and justice for any abuse thereof,” the Australian Embassy said.
Jonathan Oates, a British Liberal Democrat politician and member of the House of Lords took to microblogging site Twitter to condemn the violence.
“A the corrupt dictatorship tries to destroy democracy in Ukraine, another tries to do the same in Zimbabwe. This is the moment that Zanu PF thugs attacked a rally at which opposition leader Nelson Chamisa was speaking,” he wrote.
Several civic society organisations and opposition parties including the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T also condemned the violence.