A memorial service for the slain Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali descended into violence on Tuesday after a Zanu-PF mob tried to scatter the gathering in Nyatsime, sparking clashes.
Several houses, shops and at least one vehicle were damaged as CCC youths fought back.
Police detained Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala and his Chitungwiza North counterpart Godfrey Sithole on charges of incitement to commit public violence.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, who spoke at the prayer service for Ali, denounced the violence and urged his supporters not to be provoked.
Laying the blame for the clashes on Zanu-PF, Chamisa maintained that his party would achieve its political goals through non-violent means.
“We have a duty to promote peace and ensure we don’t drive this country to anarchy because that is what they (Zanu-PF) want,” Chamisa told several hundred supporters.
Ali was abducted from Chibhanguza Shopping Centre in Nyatsime, a peri-urban settlement in Chitungwiza, on May 24. Her dismembered body was retrieved from a pit in the backyard of the home of her alleged killer’s mother on June 11, some 10km from where she was taken.
Police said her body had been cut in two and stuffed in a sack.
While police claim her death was a result of domestic violence, her children and the CCC say she was killed for her activism. Her suspected killer Pios Jamba is on the run, and Ali’s family says they will not bury her until police arrest her killer.
Zanu-PF and CCC activists fought running battles from around mid-day. Calm was restored when Chamisa arrived but his CCC party said Zanu-PF mobs targeted the homes of CCC supporters overnight Tuesday, burning some and stoning others.
A house belonging to a Zanu-PF Seke Rural councillor was also set alight and several shops at Chibhanguza had their windows smashed.
Some unlucky residents were caught in the crossfire of the violent clashes after being mistaken for sympathisers of the rival party.
Chamisa warned that Zanu-PF was attempting to incite opposition activists to a violent confrontation ahead of general elections next year.
“Nobody resorts to violence unless the people despise them,” Chamisa said, referring to Zanu-PF’s local leadership. “I got reports that Zanu-PF members are terrorising Nyatsime residents who are now living in fear. I’ve heard that Zanu-PF youths chased away grieving mourners from this homestead. Despite the temptation to fight back, we should not be provoked.”
In a statement late Tuesday, police said they were “investigating circumstances which has led to incidences of public violence in Nyatsime area, Chitungwiza, this afternoon.”
The statement added that Sikhala was “arrested in connection with the orgy of public violence.”
Source : ZimLive