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By Leopold Munhende
An overzealous Zanu PF activist who threatened violence against MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa and his supporters could be in hot soup if the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) responds positively to requests by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) that he be investigated.
The activist identified by ZPP as Bernard Chiteme was captured in a video shot on the day President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially opened the Mbuya Nehanda statue in Harare last month.
According to ZPP, the threats constituted a human rights violation that the commission should investigate.
“We write to officially lodge a complaint over an incident that happened on 25 May 2021 during the unveiling of the Mbuya Nehanda statue monument in Harare,” reads the letter.
“The unveiling was covered by several media personnel who produced video content published online. In one of the videos published on YouTube, a man wearing Zanu PF party regalia issues threats to members of the opposition party.
“He says, in reference to opposition supporters “… ndini uya wekumbokutaurirai kuti tichakumamisai… if you want to play with us, we are Zanu PF, tokumamisai. Pasi naChamisa!”
Literally translated, this means “I am the same person who once threatened to bash you thoroughly. We are Zanu PF. Down with Chamisa”.
ZPP added in its correspondence to the rights body, “Following the publication of this video, we carried out some investigations together with other pro-human rights individuals and organizations and we managed to establish that the man in question is Bernard Chiteme.
“Further investigations showed that this Chiteme is a Zanu PF activist and in the past, he has publicly issued the same kind of threats to opposition supporters.”
NewZimbabwe.com once carried a similar video of Chiteme which ZPP refers to.
In the earlier video, beamed on NewZimbabwe.com, Chiteme, while at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare, claims that the 2023 elections are not necessary as Zanu PF has already won the impending poll.
Police, often accused by the opposition for bias towards Zanu PF, have not acted on the threats of violence.
Zanu PF has also not commented on the activist.
Added ZPP: “We strongly believe that this is a human rights issue that warrants your investigation to establish findings that can lead to the arrest and prosecution of Chiteme.
“This is because we understand that his statements amount to public incitement of violence and can result in politically motivated violence.
“We are aware that no statements have been issued by either Zanu PF as a party that he publicly claimed to speak on behalf, and the police, who we believe are supposed to deal with such cases.”
ZPP is a local NGO that monitors and documents cases of politically motivated violations by both state and non-state actors countrywide.