At last 10 activists of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai were seriously injured when they were attacked by suspected Zanu PF supporters in Chitungwiza.
Some of the MDC-T with life-threatening injuries, say human rights activists, have been admitted to various hospitals where they are said to be in stable conditions.
The MDC-T, MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, People’s Democratic Party and Heal Zimbabwe have condemned the violence, which they claim is election-related.
The MDC-T activists claim that they were attacked while conducting a door to door campaign informing people not to surrender voters’ slip serial numbers to Zanu PF activists.
Police said investigations were in progress.
The MDC-T identified one of the injured as Delma who is currently admitted at Chitungwiza Hospital where he is receiving treatment.
“Delma is one of the hundreds of MDC supporters who were injured in the gruesome attack during the weekend. Apparently Delma is under heavy police guard who are waiting to effect arrest on him whilst ignoring the perpetrators. This is purely a case of state sponsored violence as police ignore reports from the victims as no arrest has been made so far.
“In yet another case, Zanu PF youths with the aid of police went about terrorising MDC supporters at night by frog marching them in the streets whilst naked and beating them with sjamboks. Such behaviour by Zanu PF youths and the police is heinous and deplorable.”
The party said as the voter registration exercise gets underway, there is a surge in violence against MDC-T supporters, “putting the whole voter registration into disrepute and serious discredit.
“We call upon the government and ZEC to ensure the protection of citizens as they go about exercising their democratic right to register to vote.”
In a statement, Heal Zimbabwe condemned what it called organized acts of politically-motivated violence that “took place in Chitungwiza, Unit N on 22 October 2017 where suspected ZANU PF youth went on a rampage assaulting MDC-T supporters and destroying their houses. A total of 10 MDC-T activists sustained serious injuries and have since been hospitalized.”
Heal Zimbabwe said, these acts of violence “come hardly a week after three MDC-T supporters were assaulted by unknown assailants on the 18th of October 2017 in Chitungwiza, UNIT J. The unknown assailants accused the three of distributing Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) fliers arguing that only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was mandated to do so. The matter was reported at Town Centre police station and no arrests have been made so far.”
Heal Zimbabwe said such actions painted “a gloomy picture of what lies ahead as the nation prepares for the 2018 elections.
“Such acts of violence also expose the high level of intolerance among political players which alone poses a serious threat to the holding of free, fair, peaceful and credible elections in 2018. Heal Zimbabwe implores political parties to reign in on errant supporters who perpetrate violence. The police must also launch a thorough investigation and apprehend the culprits.”
About 200 people died in 2008 in the presidential election re-run after Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the poll though he had no mandate to form a government as he did not reach the required threshold to do so.