Thomas Mugwagwa & Tarisai Jeke forcibly taken off bus, found badly beaten
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says some of its activists were abducted and beaten up on Thursday by suspected Zanu PF supporters when they travelling in a bus from Caledonia to a voter registration center.
In an earlier tweet, CCC interim spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, said, “We’ve received a report that a bus carrying 80 citizens mobilized by the @CCCZimbabwe from Caledonia to the registration centre was blocked by suspected ZANU PF thugs. Thomas Mugwagwa & Tarisai Jeke were forcibly taken.”
A few hours ago, Mahere said, “Thomas Mugwagwa and Tarisai Jeke have been found but they were badly beaten. They were forcibly taken when a bus carrying 80 citizens going to register to vote was barricaded by Zanu PF thugs. Our rapid response team is on the ground getting them medical & legal help.”
Suspected Zanu PF activists beat up CCC supporters, including elderly people, at a party meeting in Murewa. A local resident was arrested in connection with the assault.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, was unreachable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference has condemned the violence saying it has no place in independent Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the ZCBC said, “We the members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) would want to condemn the barbaric act of violence captured on a video that circulated on social media over the weekend. The most disturbing thing is that the violent acts are meted out against senior citizens, people who should be enjoying the rights brought about by our independence. What is more worrisome is that the violence captured in the video is politically related. A voice can be heard asking the senior citizens as to what a particular political party has done for them.
“As the nation heads towards the harmonized elections, we urge all political players to desist from the use of violence and the use of young people to commit violent crimes. Violence should not be employed to gain political mileage. The people’s fundamental rights should be respected at all times.”
The ZCBC said citizens of this nation have rights enshrined in our Constitution. “Among those rights is the freedom of choice, association and political rights. We would like to urge all parties to be responsible in their campaigns. Sell to the people your ideologies, and convince them with your arguments. As you do so, respect their choices. There is no citizen who should be intimidated or coerced, and worse still, be beaten to make a choice. That speaks against human dignity.
“As a nation we have in the past seen a lot of violence around elections; let this election be different. The people of this country dream and yearn for a free, credible and fair election. It’s not the casting of ballots that ascertains that, it’s the environment we create before, during and after elections.”
The ZCBC said it is therefore incumbent on the government, political parties, and all institutions that we create a level playing field.
“Equal opportunities should be given to all who want to participate in this coming election. There should be no fear or favour. Heinous violent crimes such as the one captured on the ‘Murehwa video’ should be condemned by all parties.
“We, therefore, call for zero tolerance to violence. The culture of violence speaks against the moral fabric of our society. To curb nurturing such a culture we call upon the government through its various institutions to bring the perpetrators of violence to justice and may the victims of that violence be protected and given the necessary care.”