BY LORRAINE MUROMO
THE Nelson Chamisa led Citizens for Coalition Change (CCC) has called on Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to retract statements he made on February 26, where he threatened to crush the opposition like lice.
The opposition said the statements fuelled violence at a time when the country was witnessing rising cases of politically-motivated attacks mainly targeted at CCC supporters.
Last weekend, a number of CCC members were injured after being brutally attacked by suspected Zanu PF activists at a rally addressed by Chamisa in Kwekwe.
The violence claimed the life of CCC supporter Mboneni Ncube, who was allegedly stabbed with a spear.
Ncube, who was buried on Friday, left behind a daughter and a wife.
According to CCC interim deputy chairperson Job Sikhala, suspected Zanu PF activists have also set up torture bases in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, to “deal” with opposition supporters.
Last week, unknown suspects stormed a house belonging to CCC’s interim deputy president Tendai Biti’s in Harare and severely assaulted a security guard manning the premises.
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Human rights organisations, the clergy and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) have also raised concern over increasing cases of political violence amid fears this will dent the credibility of the polls.
CCC interim national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the violence was deeply worrying.
“The CCC condemns the escalation of political violence, particularly the egregious attacks against our members as we approach the 26 March by-elections,” said Mahere.
“We call for an immediate end to this clear pattern of political violence by Zanu PF against the CCC.
“We further call for a full retraction of the statements by one senior Zanu PF official to the effect that CCC members must be crushed like lice.”
Mahere said it was the duty of different constitutional bodies to ensure that political violence is eradicated.
“The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zec and the Zimbabwe Republic Police must urgently investigate these statements and the series of violent attacks against CCC and ensure there is accountability for the perpetrators.
“An electoral process soaked in the blood of innocent citizens is not the sort of electoral process the citizens of Zimbabwe deserve,” Mahere said.
Analysts said the political violence was not surprising, with political analyst Effie Ncube adding that it has become entrenched into Zimbabwe’s body politic, particularly towards elections.
“This has been the case since 1980 and the level of violence rises and falls depending on the strength of the opposition.
“When faced with a weak opposition, Zanu PF reduces its reliance on violence, and when facing a stronger opposition violence goes up,” the political analyst said.
“Zanu PF is a violent party with undemocratic tendencies. Most importantly, Zanu PF knows it cannot win a free and fair election; therefore violence is Zanu PF’s way of compensating for its weaknesses. Because of this, 2023 will be far worse.”
Another political analyst Farai Maguwu added: “Violence and terror is written in the DNA of Zimbabwe’s politics right from independence, the Gukurahundi, the violence of 1990 and 2000 coming forward.”
“We have always had violence that comes with elections, in every election cycle in Zimbabwe,” Maguwu said.
“It’s a foregone conclusion that people are going to lose their lives and property.
“It’s a clear indication that 2023 is going to be a bloodbath, needless loss of lives and peace only returns after elections and especially if Zanu PF gets what it wants.
“It’s time for introspection for all Zimbabweans if elections really serve a purpose in politics to change anything.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa accused CCC of stoking the violence by staging rallies close to venues where President Emmerson Mnangagwa would be addressing ruling party supporters.
“Why is Chamisa trolling the president?…
“Why is he trying to make sure that where Zanu PF is the following day he is also there? This is mischief on his part.
“He wants to generate tensions between political parties,” said Mutsvangwa last week.