from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE murder of a Zimbabwean clergyman after his abduction allegedly by ruling party supporters and state agents has sent shockwaves through a country where politics has long become a matter of life and death.
Pastor Tapfumanei Masaya (51), who was part of a political campaign team for an aspiring legislator for the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party, has been confirmed dead after he was abducted and disappeared last Saturday.
Masaya, of Pillar of the World Church, was on Saturday abducted by some unidentified people in the opposition stronghold Tafara area, 30km east of Harare, while conducting a political campaign to drum up support for Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi, the opposition candidate for the parliamentary by-elections scheduled for December 9.
He was bundled into a vehicle and never heard of until his death was confirmed on Tuesday after the lifeless body was found at an intersection in Harare, the capital.
The assailants also abducted Jeffrey Kalosi, a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member, assaulted and dumped him in a remote area.
Such incidents and other brutality have been commonplace in Zimbabwe as President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) flex their muscles on critics since elections held in August were rejected by Zimbabwe’s friends and foes as flawed.
Amnesty International, Southern Defenders and Human Rights Watch have urged the Zimbabwean authorities must immediately address the escalating cases of abductions, arbitrary detention, torture and killing of parliament members, opposition political activists, and human rights defenders.
“The authorities should urgently take effective measures to prevent these grave human rights violations, bring those suspected to be responsible to justice, and ensure access for survivors and victims to justice and effective remedies,” they jointly stated.
Rarely do authorities act to curb such violations because they are perpetrated by state agents and ruling party personnel, critics say.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, said, “Police are currently conducting comprehensive investigations to ascertain the circumstances surrounding Pastor Masaya’s death.”
The crises in Zimbabwe are also a cause for concern in the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc.
SADC is denounced as a “club of dictators”, with leaders not calling each other out for human rights violations.
Thus the condemnation of the Zimbabwe election was unprecedented.
Outspoken Namibia opposition parliamentarian, Inna Hengari said, “Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe are being kidnapped, tortured and killed in broad daylight.”
She claimed perpetrators were known and are “the same people who steal elections.”
ZANU-PF has been accused of rigging elections since the former Rhodesia’s independence from Britain in 1980/
“They are now stealing lives. No one in the region or beyond should accept this,” Hengari said.
– CAJ News