Responding to news of the death of Tinashe Chitsunge, an opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist in Harare on Thursday, allegedly at the hands of ruling ZANU-PF supporters, Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, said:
“The fatal attack on Tinashe Chitsunge, a CCC activist, paints a grim picture of the human rights environment in Zimbabwe ahead of general elections scheduled for 23 August 2023. Such callous acts of violence, which have repeatedly marred Zimbabwe’s political landscape, gravely threaten 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.
“Authorities must 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 Tinashe Chitsunge’s death and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice. Authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies for Tinashe Chitsunge and his family.”
Tinashe Chitsunge, a CCC activist was reportedly stoned to death by ZANU-PF activists in Glen View South, Harare, in the afternoon of 3 August 2023. He was reportedly attacked while trying to flee from a suspected ZANU-PF mob, which was assailing opposition activists who had gathered to hold a rally.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its next general election on 23 August 2023. 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.