Responding to a viral social media video showing brutal attacks against supporters of the political opposition party Citizens’ Coalition for Change, Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa, said:
This callous, politically motivated attack against older people who had simply attended a gathering for a political opposition party is outrageousFlavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa
“This callous, politically motivated attack against older people who had simply attended a gathering for a political opposition party is outrageous. Such cruel acts of violence, which have repeatedly marred Zimbabwe’s political landscape in the past, gravely threaten the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
“These attacks are clearly intended to harass and intimidate members of political opposition in the months leading up to Zimbabwe’s upcoming election and could have a chilling effect throughout the country. The Zimbabwean 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 expressing support to political parties of their choice.
Authorities must launch a thorough, independent and impartial investigation and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justiceFlavia Mwangovya
“The Zimbabwean authorities must also urgently launch a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these assaults and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials. They must also fully respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in the lead up to, during and after the upcoming election.”
The video, which appears to have been filmed by one of the assailants, shows a group of apparent supporters of the country’s ruling Zanu PF party kicking and beating with sticks older people in Ward 4 of Bhunu Village, Murehwa North, a rural district of Marondera East.
In the short clip, older men and women can be seen being cruelly assaulted and interrogated simply for attending a political gathering for the Citizens’ Coalition for Change.
Zimbabwe has a long history of violence in the context of elections, 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. During the 2008 elections, more than 200 people were killed during and after the election amid violence against opposition supporters.