Harare – An opposition activist in Zimbabwe was found dead days after he was abducted while campaigning ahead of key by-elections that have heightened political turmoil in the country, his party said on Monday.
The body of Tapfumanei Masaya, who was snatched by armed men in broad daylight on Saturday in Harare, was found on the outskirts of the capital, according to the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
“We demand the police to investigate this heinous crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” the party wrote on X, previously known as Twitter.
Police confirmed the retrieval of a body but said the identity of the victim was yet to be established.
After a disputed election in August, some Zimbabweans are to head back to the polls in December following what the CCC has described as the “fraudulent” recalling of some of its lawmakers.
Masaya was campaigning for the CCC candidate in the Harare suburb of Mabvuku when he was forced into a vehicle, according to the party.
“The illegal and fraudulent recalls of our elected members have resulted in the death of our change champion, Tapfumanei Masaya,” the CCC wrote on social media.
The killing is the latest in a string of abductions, arrests and other violent acts that the CCC says are part of a campaign of intimidation against its supporters following the August 23 vote.
CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, 45, lost a presidential vote to incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, 81, in a general election that also gave the ruling Zanu-PF party a majority in parliament.
International observers said the vote fell short of democratic standards.
Last month, more than a dozen CCC lawmakers lost their seats in Kafkaesque fashion after what they said is an impostor posing as a party official recalled them – and parliament went along with it.
The move triggered by-elections to be held on December 9 that could hand Zanu-PF, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, a two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution.
Analysts believe the party might use a super majority to remove a two-term presidential limit and enable Mnangagwa, who came to power on the back of a coup that ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017, to rule beyond 2028.