Zimbabwe opposition party says activist found dead after abduction

HARARE (Reuters) – A Zimbabwe opposition activist has been found dead after he was abducted on Saturday during a political campaign just outside Harare, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party said late on Monday, the second abduction in weeks of an opposition party member.

Tapfumaneyi Masaya was reportedly bundled into a vehicle by unknown men while campaigning for main opposition party CCC’s candidate ahead of by-elections on Dec. 9, the party said.

CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi told Reuters on Tuesday that Masaya was tortured and dumped on the outskirts of Harare.

Masaya’s body was later moved to a mortuary at Parirenyatwa Hospital, about 5km from central Harare, where it was identified by CCC members who had been searching for him, Mkwananzi said.

Reuters could not independently verify the events.

Zimbabwe has a long history of forced disappearances and deaths of political activists dating back to the 80s. The opposition has often accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of torture and deaths of its activists.

Masaya’s abduction and killing comes barely two weeks after CCC lawmaker Takudzwa Ngadziore was abducted, tortured and dumped about 50km north of Harare by armed men. He survived the attack.

Police said on Monday an investigation had been launched after a body was discovered in the vicinity of where the CCC said Masaya was found, but that the victim’s identity was yet to be established.

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi told Reuters on Tuesday that there were no further updates.

“We urge the police to do their work and ensure that all these abductors are promptly and effectively brought to justice,” said Mkwananzi.

Zimbabwe’s opposition parties have been calling for a fresh election since President Emmerson Mnangagwa secured a second term in August. CCC leader Nelson Chamisa described the vote as a “gigantic fraud”, while the ruling ZANU-PF party has denied the fraud claims.

(Reporting by Nyasha Chingono; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Bernadette Baum)