CCC leaders have surreptitiously spirited witnesses involved in the disturbing political violence that took place in Murehwa from their homes even before police have finished conducting crucial interviews, triggering fears that the opposition party could be either coaching the victims or that it could be behind the harrowing incident.
Bizarrely, CCC has blocked journalists sympathetic to them from talking to the alleged victims as is usually their modus operandi, prompting observers to conclude the whole charade, which is reminiscent of the opposition’s staged abductions, might have fingerprints of the Nelson Chamisa-led outfit all over.
While police have swiftly moved in to arrest the perpetrators with three already locked up and assisting with investigations — as is standard procedure — teams on the ground failed to interview some of the victims who had been driven kilometres away to Harare from Murehwa, the crime scene, ostensibly for medical reasons.
An anti-Government website, The Newshawks, which often fronts the interests of the opposition, vented its frustrations with the CCC’s dark tactics on the micro-blogging platform Twitter on Wednesday.
“While the Murehwa political violence case has been widely condemned by various voices — including Zanu PF — the opposition CCC is preventing journalists from interviewing victims of the brutality to expose perpetrators. Victims want to talk, but CCC claims it’s unsafe.
“Since the beginning of the week, CCC brought the elderly victims to Harare for medical attention, but has been stonewalling journalists, implausibly claiming security and other dubious reasons. They claim if they are interviewed and expose the perpetrators, they would be at risk.
“While victims need to be protected, it is equally important to interview them to know what actually happened; who the perpetrators are. A balance must be struck between interviewing and protecting them.
“Failure to expose perpetrators is also a way of worsening victims’ plight.
“When The NewsHawks was about to travel to Murehwa to look for the victims as we did during Moreblessing Ali’s murder, we discovered they were now in Harare.
“We tried to interview them; they are willing, but their keepers are raising safety claims, but a balance is needed on this.
“Interviewing perpetrators at this stage without first talking to the victims is putting the cart before the horse; perpetrators have the motive to lie, but victims don’t. So it makes journalistic sense to start with the victims and then end with the perpetrators to get the truth,” read part of the long thread posted by the website.
It is not only journalists or activists who have been frustrated by the opposition’s latest pranks but also the police, with Zimbabwe Republic Police Chief Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi also registering investigators’ concerns with “groups or individuals who are interfering with investigations”.
“We don’t expect interference from groups or individuals, especially before we make the arrests, right now witnesses should be assisting the police with investigations but it becomes so difficult when they are not in the area to assist the investigators,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He added that so far police have three suspects who are expected to appear in court soon to answer to the violence charges.
Often, the opposition in Zimbabwe raises the anti-Zimbabwe ante when there are international events, pending (such as this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland) or in session to spotlight the country, albeit in choreographed frolics that have since been outed.
For instance, in May, the opposition hijacked the death of one Moreblessing Ali, who had been killed by her boyfriend in a purely domestic matter, into a political one with some of its legislators vowing to make the country ungovernable.
In the latest chapter, the opposition has been at pains to try and politicise the Murehwa violence matter. Just last week it dispatched Marondera Central MP Caston Matewu to arrange for transportation of the victims from Murehwa to the capital.
Mr Matewu maladroitly admitted in his response to the pro-CCC media of interfering with investigations, saying: “The victims are currently receiving medical attention and for their safety at an undisclosed location. Once done you and everyone else is free to talk to them.”
Yesterday, The Herald’s attempts to get a response from the opposition CCC came to nought with the party spokesperson Advocate Fadzai Mahere not reachable, while her deputy Gift “Ostallos” Siziba referred questions back to her.
The party’s secretary general, Chalton Hwende, said he had taken a “breather” and could not comment on the matter.