Harare – Suspected ruling party supporters in Zimbabwe on Thursday attacked and stoned members of former vice president Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party, rights groups said.
In one of the first reports of political violence since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over in November, Mujuru was campaigning in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb at the time of the attack.
Pictures shared on social media showed a man with a deep gash to his head, and blood streaming down his back.
It’s understood that Joice Mujuru was also slightly injured in the attack.
“The doctor has recommended that she has an X-ray for any internal injuries,” said family member Wellence Mujuru in a tweet.
“It is very sad that some people still believe in the culture of political violence,” he said.
Police have not commented on the incident. The Zimbabwe Peace Project said police had arrested some people. Unconfirmed reports have put the number of those arrested at five.
The Doctor has recommended that she has an X-ray for any internal injuries. It is very sad that Some people still believe in the culture of Political violence. #JoiceMujuru#lStandWithMyMother pic.twitter.com/I2RlkoEiUc
— Wellence Mujuru (@WellenceMujuru) February 1, 2018
Another rights groups, the Human Rights NGO Forum said a vehicle had dropped off a group of Zanu-PF youths that attacked members of the NPP as they conducted a rally. The vehicle’s number plate had been recorded, it said.
— Kuda H Mazviwana (@KMazviwana) February 1, 2018
“Organised political violence should not be condoned in light of the upcoming elections,” the group said in a tweet.
Mujuru’s popularity has waned in recent months and her following is relatively small. She initially welcomed Mnangagwa’s takeover of power but has since accused him of staging a coup.
Thursday’s incident comes at a delicate time in Zimbabwe, as Mnangagwa tries to re-engage with the international community on the back of his promise to deliver free and fair elections later this year.
On Thursday, the UK’s minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin jetted into Zimbabwe for meetings with Mnangagwa and his government, as well as civil society members.
The US embassy in Harare this week said that the country could expect high level visits soon from US government and business representatives. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is also to visit. – News24