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The Zimbabwe Republic Police have pleaded with politicians not to stoke the fire of an already volatile environment following the murder of opposition activist Moreblessing Ali.
The Citizens Coalition for Change activist was allegedly abducted more than two weeks ago.
In a statement, national police spokesperson, assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi, said the police were disturbed by some politicians, including lawyers, who had issued threats to government officials and the police in connection with the case.
“Some are openly inciting violence. The public is urged to be patient and allow the current criminal investigations to proceed smoothly,” he said.
Ali, 46, is survived by two children.
The Zimbabwe police have named Pias Jamba as a suspect in her murder.
Police said the two had an altercation at a local bar at Chibhanguza Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza, a township about 30km east of Harare, before Ali went missing.
Ali’s mutilated body was discovered in a well at a farm in Beatrice on Saturday. According to a police statement, “bruises were observed on the right cheek and forehead, the left armpit was chopped but left hanging to the torso, the intestines were intact but exposed from underneath the stomach”.
While the suspect in her murder, Jamba, was still at large, Ali’s political colleagues insisted that her murder was politically motivated.
These allegations do not sit well with the police, who fear that tempers could flare as Zimbabwe prepares for general elections due next year. According to the police, they are monitoring the situation even on social media.
“Any form of intimidation or threats under the guise of politics or social media antics are being monitored by the police,” said Nyathi.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project said Ali’s family was terrified because the people linked to her death belonged to the ruling party, Zanu PF.
The organisation said: “The family is living in fear, unable to confront those responsible because of the positions they hold in the ruling party.”
Jonathan Oates, the co-chairperson of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Zimbabwe in the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, said Ali’s murder had painted a bad image of Zimbabwe.
“The history of political violence, abductions and murder is sadly a long one in Zimbabwe. If President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants re-engagement he has to end this now,” Oates said.
Zimbabwe government spokesperson Nick Mangwana said if Ali’s suspected murderers were members of Zanu PF, it did not mean that her killing was at the behest of the party. He said as such, it could not amount to a politically motivated murder.
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