Opposition activist Tapfumanei Masaya has been found dead after being abducted during his campaign activities in Zimbabwe ahead of the upcoming by-elections, as revealed by his party, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), on Monday.
Masaya’s tragic death marks the third recent incident decried by the CCC, the largest opposition group in the country, alleging widespread intimidation against its supporters by the ruling Zanu-PF party.
The CCC previously reported the abductions of one of its Members of Parliament and a former MP in Harare at the end of October and early November. They detailed cases of torture, including one individual found naked and injured and another with a shaved head.
The body of Tapfumanei Masaya, abducted by armed men in broad daylight in Harare last Saturday, was discovered on the outskirts of the capital, the CCC confirmed on Monday.
Urging a thorough investigation and the apprehension of those responsible, the CCC took to social media to call on the police to probe this “heinous crime” and ensure justice prevails.
While the police acknowledged finding a body, they refrained from confirming its identity, emphasizing that it was yet to be established.
The voided seats of 15 elected CCC MPs by Parliament, deemed “fraudulent” by the opposition, have prompted upcoming by-elections in December to fill these positions.
Masaya was actively campaigning for a CCC candidate in Harare’s Mabvuku suburb when he was forcibly taken into a vehicle, the party disclosed.
Blaming Masaya’s tragic fate on the “illegal” cancellation of the MPs’ elections, the CCC lamented on social media. The general elections held in August resulted in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s return to power and granted Zanu-PF a parliamentary majority.
Critics, including international observers, questioned the democratic credibility of these elections. The impending by-elections could potentially secure a two-thirds parliamentary majority for Zanu-PF, a pivotal threshold required for constitutional amendments.
Amid speculation, some analysts fear that Zanu-PF may leverage this majority to extend President Mnangagwa’s tenure beyond 2028. Mnangagwa ascended to power following a 2017 coup that ousted President Robert Mugabe.