Massive violence around March by-elections, including one killed

The Parliamentary by-elections held in Kuwadzana and Highfield on 29 and 30 March 2003 resulted in organised violence and torture (OVT) within the two areas persisting as civilians, ZANU PF and MDC supporters reportedly descended on and victimised each other for allegedly voting for one political party and not another.

Of the political parties in the Zimbabwean political arena, only members from the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition MDC were identified as being victims and perpetrators of political violence during the run up to and the period following the by-elections. Coupled with the MDC mass stay away on 18 and 19 March 2003, as well as the ZCTU mass stay-away on 23 – 25 April 2003, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum documented a number of politically motivated violations for the month of April.

Richard Tonderayi Machiridza, an MDC supporter from Chitungwiza, was reportedly murdered by police officers and soldiers on suspicion of perpetrating violence during the 18-19 March 2003 stay-away. The officers allegedly assaulted him severely and banged his head against the wall. He died on 18 April 2003.

More than 60 MDC supporters attending the funeral of Richard Tonderayi Machiridza were reportedly arrested by police officers and were charged under section 7(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum continues to condemn all forms of political violence and torture, as well as the use of force by state agents, MDC supporters and ZANU PF supporters to harass, intimidate, victimise, torture, and assault victims.

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