Thirteen Zanu PF supporters appeared at the Harare magistrates court yesterday facing public violence charges following the deadly attack on Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists in Harare.
The Zanu PF supporters are linked to the murder of CCC activist Tinashe Edison Chitsunge (44).
Chitsunge was allegedly stoned to death by the Zanu PF supporters, who disrupted the opposition party’s campaign rally at a field in Glen View last week.
Magistrate Yeukai Dzuda remanded the suspects to tomorrow after their lawyer, Stephen Chikotora asked the court to speed up their bail hearing, saying his clients’ liberty was at stake.
Chikotora also asked the court to prioritise the case so that the matter may be heard with urgency.
The suspects are Cleopas Ndlovu (27), Ruzivo Mapuranga (39), Pauline Chikomo (37), Brian Mutanga (38), Berrington Mutanga (36), Emma Murana (40), Tawanda Muchatisi (29), Tapiwa Kaseke (32), Nyakabau Munashe (18), Tinashe Mabheki (35) Fadzai Madzinga (47), Forget Kanyuru (29) and Phenius Kamwendo (28).
According to court papers, on August 3 and at around 6 am, ZRP Glen Norah deployed members to cover a sanctioned CCC rally scheduled for Chimunhu Grounds, Tanaka Area, Glen View 7, Harare.
While at the venue, the accused persons, who are suspected Zanu PF supporters and others who are still at large, arrived and started playing soccer.
Police asked them to disperse but they ignored the instruction and continued playing soccer at the venue.
The police tried to engage the accused persons but they became violent and threw stones at the law enforcement officers.
Police had to use teargas to disperse them, the court heard.
At that time, CCC supporters arrived for their intended rally, and the accused persons regrouped before the two groups started throwing stones at each other.
The situation became violent, and CCC members retreated to their vehicles while the Zanu PF mob pursued them.
It is alleged that as a result of the public violence, Chitsunge lost his life while vehicles were damaged and property was stolen.
Meanwhile, witnesses told The Associated Press that Chitsunge was beaten and stoned to death as he tried to flee from dozens of men wearing Zanu PF party T-shirts.
At least 15 other people were injured in the attack, the witnesses said.
The killing of CCC supporter Chitsunge came in the same week that party leader Nelson Chamisa said in an interview with AP that many of his party’s supporters were facing violence and intimidation at the hands of ruling party activists.
The intimidation, Chamisa said, meant many people faced the choice of either supporting the ruling party or being killed.
“It is not an election of political choices, but it’s an election of death or Zanu PF,” Chamisa said.
On Twitter (now known as X) on Friday, he condemned the killing of Chitsunge and called it a cold-blooded murder.
International rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have already warned that there has been a brutal crackdown on opposition to Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.
—Additional reporting by AP