The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) has called on the government to launch a thorough investigation into the recent politically motivated violence witnessed in Murehwa. In a statement released on Thursday, the powerful unit of the Roman Catholic church said that the age of those being abused in a recent video shared on social media was particularly concerning, as they should be enjoying the fruits of their independence.
The video, which shows members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) being flogged by alleged Zanu PF youths, has resulted in the arrest of one suspect, a 67-year-old. The ZCBC said that the violence captured in the video is politically related and expressed concern over the targeting of senior citizens. The statement read, “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.”
The ZCBC called on all parties to be responsible in their campaigns and to respect citizens’ choices, adding that citizens have rights enshrined in the Constitution, including the freedom of choice, association, and political rights. The statement further said that the people of Zimbabwe dream and yearn for a free, credible and fair election, and it is incumbent on the government, political parties, and all institutions to create a level playing field, providing equal opportunities to all who want to participate in the coming election.
The CCC has blamed recent utterances by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga for the attack on its supporters, arguing that their calls for opposition supporters to be killed, crushed like lice and be treated as sellouts are what have resulted in their members being targeted. However, Zanu PF has denied any association with those recorded in the video.