Amnesty calls for probe into death of opposition activist

Amnesty International has called on the government of Zimbabwe to promptly launch a thorough investigation into the death of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist, Tinashe Chitsunge, who was stoned to death by alleged Zanu-PF supporters.

The fatal attack on Chitsunge, who was reportedly killed while trying to flee from a suspected ZANU-PF mob, paints a grim picture of the human rights environment in Zimbabwe ahead of general elections scheduled for 23 August 2023.

At least 12 suspects linked to the murder have been arrested.

Amnesty International Deputy Director for Southern Africa, Khanyo Farisè said the attack “gravely threatens the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.”

“Authorities must take all necessary steps to prevent acts of politically motivated violence and refrain from issuing inflammatory statements that could incite similar attacks or deter people from freely exercising their human rights and expressing support to political parties of their choice,” Farisè said.

Amnesty International also called on the government to ensure a peaceful environment before, during and after the elections by fully respecting, protecting, promoting and fulfilling the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression.

“We call on Zimbabwe’s authorities to promptly launch a thorough, independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into Chitsunge’s death and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice. Authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies for him and his family,” Farisè said.

The organization noted that Zimbabwe has a long history of violence during election time, with opposition parties repeatedly accusing ZANU-PF of being behind the attacks.

“The country has a long history of election violence with opposition parties repeatedly accusing ZANU-PF of being behind the attacks. Amnesty International has previously documented similar election-related human rights violations in the country, including in 2008 when more than 200 people were killed during and after the election amid violence against opposition supporters,” Farisè said.

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