PRESSURE is mounting on the police to unearth the circumstances behind the alleged abduction and murder of opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activist Moreblessing Ali by suspected Zanu PF members.
The police are being accused of “concealing” evidence to exonerate the ruling Zanu PF party from the gruesome murder.
Ali (35) was allegedly abducted in Chitungwiza two weeks ago and her mutilated remains were recovered from a disused well in Manyame on Saturday.
Police were as of late yesterday yet to conclude identification of the remains, while results of an autopsy are yet to be released.
In a statement, police said the body was discovered by Linnah Mukandi (57), who is the mother of the prime suspect Pius Jamba, whose whereabouts remain a mystery.
Ali’s family lawyer, Job Sikhala, has, however, taken exception to the way the whole saga has unfolded.
“We are so inquisitive. How would even lovers who have decided to part ways decide to kill each other in such a brutal way that Ali was killed? The police are trying to give a picture that Pius Jamba and Simbarashe Chisango are not of the same mother. They are just trying to conceal and protect something from the public. Police are doing that for the purpose to extricate Zanu PF from its involvement, knowing well that Simba is a prominent Zanu PF terror gang leader in Nyatsime. For them to remove Zanu PF from the equation, they’re trying to conceal that relationship,” Sikhala told NewsDay at Ali’s funeral wake yesterday.
“We want these people to be apprehended. We are not going to move back. We are going to continue demanding the apprehension of these people who murdered this innocent woman for no apparent reason. There is nothing whatsoever that can lead to taking human life which is sacrosanct.
“We cannot allow this thing to continue. We have had many people who disappeared without a trace. Itai Dzamara was taken in the public glare in Glen View and up to now, there is no closure to that case. We want to know Ali’s killers. This thing is not going to end well if this doesn’t come to conclusion. We will make sure that her spirit won’t rest until these people are haunted. All their extended families shall suffer,” Sikhala added.
He vowed that if a post-mortem is done excluding Ali’s family, her remains would not be laid to rest.
“We are not going to allow a post-mortem examination that will be done without my full participation as a family lawyer. We are not going to accept a post-mortem alone, we want a forensic examination. We want full disclosure of how she was murdered. We want full medical material facts that will assist to come to conclusion of this matter. I will not betray the trust the family has put in me to make sure that all due processes are done within the ambits of confidence and law,” Sikhala declared.
A family member who preferred anonymity accused the police of snubbing the family during investigations.
“From the beginning, the police were not co-operating with us. At first, the police called Chisango and told him that they wanted Jamba at police and he said he would look for him. I once told the Assistant Inspector at Beatrice that our case wasn’t being held well.
“We spent three days without knowing the RRB (Report Received Book) number. There was a lack of co-operation until Saturday when I got the message that Ali’s body had been found. But for now, I don’t know the police officers handling the case,” the family member said.
When contacted for an update, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “We stand by the statement which we issued last night (Saturday).”
Part of Nyathi’s Saturday statement read: “Some are openly inciting violence … The police reiterates that this is a callous and heinous crime of which all efforts will be made to ensure that suspects are brought to book without fail … Politicians should not interfere with criminal investigations and allow the due process of the law to be followed. The police will leave no stone unturned in order to locate the suspect Pius Jamba and any other suspect linked to this case. Police will release detailed information soon.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa and party director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The ruling party’s national administration secretary Obert Mpofu refused to comment on the matter.
“Contact Mutsvangwa or Mugwadi,” he said curtly.
Meanwhile, there has been an upsurge in politically-related abductions and incidents of violence as political temperatures continue to rise ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Non-governmental organisation Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which has been documenting human rights abuses, said the patterns of intimidation, harassment, abductions and assaults implicating the ruling party continued unabated in the month of May.
The organisation recorded cases in which Zanu PF abused its influence in government to manipulate national processes like the voter registration blitz, the mobile national documentation outreach and food aid distribution.
Zanu PF ward leaders are allegedly holding meetings, mostly in Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces threatening that if the ruling party lost the 2023 elections, they would — together with State security agents — unleash violence similar to that of the 2008 re-run that saw former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (now late) pulling out of the race, with then President Robert Mugabe (also late) running the race alone.
The violence was so unbearable that Mugabe won uncontested.
“So far, Zanu PF has been responsible for 165 human rights violations in April and 193 in May, all related to how the party is closing down the space for opposition activity,” ZPP said.