BY PROBLEM MASAU
OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters yesterday clashed with their Zanu PF counterparts, leaving a trail of destruction as tempers flared over the murder of activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza.
Ali was allegedly killed by well-known Zanu PF activists, including Pius Jamba.
Jamba is currently on the run and on the police wanted list.
The area resembled a war zone as enraged CCC youths reportedly set ablaze a house belonging to a Zanu PF councillor who was only identified as Maoresa, and destroyed windows of several shops at Chibhanguza Shopping Centre.
Last night, there were reports that CCC vice-chairperson Job Sikhala had been arrested for unknown reasons.
The party’s activists also smashed windscreens of several cars at the centre before setting up a roadblock at Chigovanyika Shopping Centre targeting vehicles with Zanu PF stickers.
Zanu PF youths, who had been roaming around the centre intimidating mourners, were forced to flee after being outnumbered by the CCC youths armed with machetes, axes and sticks.
The opposition youths said they were frustrated by the police’s failure to arrest suspects linked to Ali’s murder, whose mutilated remains were recovered from a disused well at Jamba’s house on Saturday, 18 days after her abduction.
Zanu PF has claimed Ali was its member.
The CCC youths ordered journalists not to shoot photographs of their protests.
A police reaction team came after the damage had already been done.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating the circumstances which led to the incidences of public violence in Nyatsime area, Chitungwiza this afternoon,” police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said in a statement.
“A detailed statement will be issued as police officers are currently on the ground to ensure that law and order is maintained.”
Chamisa, who arrived after the violence had died down, said his party was going to petition the Southern African Development Community over the human rights’ situation in the country.
“Politics have divided the country. Zanu PF knows that the writing is on the wall. People are being terrorised everyday here in Nyatsime. The liberation struggle was never about forcing people to vote for people they do not like. People should refrain from violence. No politician is worth dying for,” Chamisa said.
“Government has the duty to protect all citizens. The lives of Zimbabweans must be protected and secured. Let’s defend each other as citizens against violence. We all have duty to fight for change. The nation must unite.”
He added: “We will engage Sadc to ensure that there is peace in Zimbabwe as we approach the 2023 election. Political violence must not be allowed to escalate. No life must be lost on account of politics.”
Ali’s son, Silence, told mourners that they were living in fear after Zanu PF community leaders in the area threatened them with unspecified action.
He also said the family was unaware where Ali’s body had been taken to.
Family lawyer Job Sikhala told mourners that the family had resolved not to bury the victim until the perpetrators have been brought to book.
On Monday, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) issued a pastoral letter urging politicians to respect the sanctity of human life following Ali’s murder.
“The brutality of the killing of Ali indicates a level of hatred that is very disturbing. The church is deeply concerned about the level of hate and hate speech that has developed in our nation that forms a reservoir out of which these terrible killings emerge,” ZCC said.
“The church pleads with the ZRP to handle cases of human disappearance, distress calls and cases of violent conflict with a sense of urgency and in ways that do not compromise the dignity of victims.”
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