Human rights watchdogs urge government to investigate rising political violence

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN authorities must urgently address the escalating cases of abductions, arbitrary detention, torture and killings of opposition political activists and human rights defenders, Amnesty International, Southern Defenders and Human Rights Watch have said in a statement.
This follows the alleged abduction and murder of CCC activist Tapfumaneyi Masaya whose body was found dumped at the intersection of Arcturus Road and Lobho Road in the Cleveland area.
Masaya was allegedly abducted together with fellow opposition member Jeffrey Kalosi on November 11, 2023 during a door-to-door campaign in Mabvuku-Tafara constituency in preparation for December 9 by-elections.
Kalosi was said to have been severely assaulted and dumped hours later at Chabwino farm not far from where Tapfumanei’s body was discovered.
No perpetrators have been brought to book yet with police indicating investigations are underway.
In a statement on Tuesday, the human rights defenders urged the Zimbabwean authorities to urgently take effective measures to prevent these grave human rights violations and bring those responsible to justice.
“We call on the government of Zimbabwe to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial, independent, effective, and transparent investigations into the abduction and subsequent killing of Tapfumanei Masaya; and cases of abductions, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and injection of foreign substances into activists and opposition political party members,” said Amnesty International, Southern Defenders, and Human Rights Watch.
“The government must also ensure access to justice and effective remedies, including quality medical and psycho-social (mental health) support, for survivors and victims.
“It must put an end to violations of human rights and take concrete and effective measures to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone in the country, as required by Zimbabwe’s constitution and international human rights treaties to which Zimbabwe is a,” added the human rights defenders.
Following the August 2023 general elections, suspected security forces have attacked members of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC).
The elections had been marred by reports of irregularities, including voter intimidation, the arrest of civil society organization staff members, and interference with the internet.
Zimbabwe has a long history of human rights violations surging during election periods, including abductions and enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and excessive use of force by police.
“The authorities increasingly restrict civic space, and security forces violently disperse peaceful protests.
“The government has instilled fear in dissenters, severely curtailing the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.”
In another incident, September 2, 2023, Womberaiishe Nhende, Glen Norah Ward 27 councillor and his friend Sanele Mkhuhlane, were abducted, tortured and injected with an unknown substance and then dumped on the outskirts of Harare.
 A former opposition MP James Chidhakwa was abducted in Harare on October 23 and severely tortured.
According to the human rights groups’ statement, Chidhakwa was injected with an unknown substance, then dumped in Arcturus road and on November 1, 2023, another opposition lawmaker, Takudzwa Ngadziore, was abducted near his home in Harare during a Facebook Live video.
He told the press that he was tortured, injected with an unknown substance and dumped naked in Christon Bank, Mazowe on the outskirts of Harare.
Zimbabwe has a history of unresolved cases of forced disappearances.
Itai Dzamara, a journalist and critic of Mugabe’s government, was forcibly disappeared by five men while he was at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb in 2015 and has not been seen since.