Moreblessing Ali (46) went missing on the 24th of May. She was a member of Zimbabwe’s opposition party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
On 11 June, after a tip off, police arrived at the family homestead of known Chitungwiza Zanu PF member Simbarashe Chisango in Manyame, 40km from Harare. A strong stench led them to a well on the property. There, Moreblessing’s mutilated body was found. Her body was cut into two and her intestines were put in a plastic bag.
Unclear murder motive
It is still unclear whether Moreblessing was a victim of gender based violence or political murder because there is doubt that police were unbiased during the investigation.
The police linked Ali’s disappearance to a lovers’ quarrel with alleged ex-boyfriend, ZANU-PF activist, Pius Jamba who was unhappy that she had left him. In the past decade, there has been a surge in domestic violence in Zimbabwe. According to the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC), domestic violence cases have increased by more than 100 percent during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.
According to the 2015 Zimbabwe’s Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), more than one-third (35 %) of Zimbabwean women age 15 to 49 have been physically abused by partners. 15 % had been assaulted in the prior 12 months alone. In the case of married women, the figure was 20 %.
Gender based violence as a tool of political violence
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said Ali was seized and forcibly shoved into a motor vehicle by Zanu-PF members. They believe that the abduction and murder is politically motivated.
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If you are interested in this article, you might want to read Child labour in Zimbabwe or Police brutality during COVID19 lockdown in Africa