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 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.
“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.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.