Following the recent abduction and murder of his party member, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday made a plight to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to cancel the December 9 by-elections to save lives.
A CCC member, Bishop Tapfumaneyi Masaya, was found dead on Monday following his abduction in Mabvuku, Harare, two days earlier while campaigning for Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi, the party’s parliamentary candidate.
Several CCC activists including legislator Takudzwa Ngadziore and former parliamentarian James Chidhakwa, among others, were recently abducted and tortured by unknown persons as tensions rise ahead of the by-elections.
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The by-elections were triggered by the recall of CCC Members of Parliament (MPs), councillors and senators by self-proclaimed interim party secretary-general, Sengezo Tshabangu.
In an interview with NewsDay, Chamisa questioned Mnangagwa for remaining mum despite horror attacks being perpetrated on CCC members.
“There is no conversation between me and Mr Mnangagwa behind the scenes. That is why I am publicly asking him to stop the abuse and manipulation of State institutions. He must stop the illegal by-elections and also stop the abuse of citizens,” he said.
“We lost Mboneni Ncube in Kwekwe (April 2022), Tinashe Chitsunge in Glen View (August 2023), and even in Mutare, the vehicle that I was travelling in was attacked (October 2021), but Mr Mnangagwa has never spoken on all that.
“I have always said: ‘Two people must exchange points of views for nation building. There must be cross-pollination of ideas for a symbiotic approach to nation building.”
He said by-elections were a side-show to pressing political and socio-economic challenges bedevilling the nation.
“Zimbabweans are fleeing their own country in multitudes,” Chamisa said. “No sane leader sleeps freely when his people are scattered across the world. That is why you see that Shona and Ndebele, our native languages have become internationally-recognised languages because we have dominated in foreign nations yet they are throwing away US$5 million in a dark hole to conduct illegal by-elections.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said the ruling party had nothing to do with the by-elections.
“The by-elections are in accordance with the law and it’s beyond Zanu PF,” Mutsvangwa said when contacted for comment.
“It is not Zanu PF that recalled their members. Why do they want to involve Zanu PF in their affairs?
“After all, the matter is already in the courts because they are settling their issues with Tshabangu, so discussing it will be sub judice.
“It’s actually an abuse against President Mnangagwa to ask him to make decisions on by-elections, a matter of the law.”
Tshabangu has been accused of being a Zanu PF proxy.
Chamisa said Masaya’s death was disturbing.
Yesterday, Masaya’s family demanded an independent post-mortem.
Police said the matter was still under investigation.
“The family lawyers have requested an independent post-mortem, so the body won’t be coming home as was planned today (yesterday),” CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba said.
“We anticipate that to happen tomorrow (today).”
Family lawyer Innocent Gonese said the post-mortem was going to be conducted today, but the family had some issues over the process.
“The post-mortem will be conducted tomorrow (today), but we have some reservations on the whole process,” Gonese said.
Meanwhile, the United States embassy in Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) called on authorities to bring culprits behind Masaya’s death to book.
“We welcome the ongoing investigation and expect a thorough inquiry into all recent abduction cases involving opposition members and supporters. Culprits must be promptly identified, brought to justice,” the EU said.
The United States embassy said: “We call for a full investigation by the local authorities, peaceful preparations for the December by-elections and an end to political violence.” Newsday