Harare | Scores of people attended the burial of slain Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Tapfumaneyi Masaya in Harare yesterday amid growing calls for justice.
Masaya was kidnapped last Saturday in Mabvuku while campaigning for the party’s parliamentary candidate, Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi ahead of the December 9 by-elections.
Masaya’s body was found last Monday, about 30 km outside Harare.
Last week, Kufahakutizwi contemplated withdrawing from the elections, citing the escalating attacks against CCC supporters.
Police last week said they are investigating the circumstances leading to Masaya’s abduction and murder.
However, there have been no arrests or updates on the investigations.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa told mourners that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s silence on Masaya’s death raises eyebrows.
“Politics must not take away life but give it to all,” Chamisa said.
“Differences in politics must be our strength and not our weakness. There is greater power in our diversity.”
Human rights watchdogs, including Amnesty International, the United States Embassy, the European Union, and the United Nations, have condemned his murder.
They have called for thorough investigations to bring the culprits to book.
Masaya’s murder followed rising cases of politically motivated violence, intimidation, and torture of CCC members following the disputed August elections.
Chamisa demanded an end to the abductions.
“We cannot even start to speak of an absence of convictions. Culpability stands at the doorstep of those who are supposed to preside over the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations on Friday condemned Masaya’s killing and called for transparent investigations into the case.
UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Liz Throssell said Masaya’s death was disturbing following reports of increased violent attacks against opposition activists in recent months.
“We urge them (authorities) to ensure there are thorough, prompt, and independent investigations not only into his (Masaya) death but also into all allegations of people being tortured and kidnapped, including to establish whether they were forcibly disappeared,” Throssell said in a statement.
“Perpetrators should be held accountable in fair trials that follow due process.”
Throssell said human rights’ violations were an attack on democracy.
“The safety and security of all individuals, including victims and members of the political opposition, must be ensured,” she said.
“Such crimes violate not only the right to life but also have a stifling effect on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association, and equal participation.
“Authorities must guarantee these rights at all times.”
The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) also called on the government to stop the escalation of violence and abductions of opposition party activists.
“The Bible emphasises the sanctity of life and the importance of protecting it,” the ZHOCD said in a statement.
According to the ZHOCD, the abduction of Masaya and others has a negative effect on the state of human security in the country.
“The security sector is called upon to investigate and bring to finality all the cases of abductions and murder that have been reported to them,” the church leaders said.
“Offenders must be given deterrent sentences and should be held accountable for their actions.
“The church calls upon civil society and other non-state actors to collectively work towards peacebuilding and the building of a better Zimbabwe.”
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