Opposition leader and pastor Tapfumaneyi Masaya killed after abduction in Zimbabwe

Opposition leader and pastor Tapfumaneyi Masaya killed after abduction in Zimbabwe

The death of Tapfumaneyi Masaya, a prominent opposition leader and pastor in Zimbabwe, has shocked and saddened many people in the country and abroad. Masaya was kidnapped by unknown gunmen on November 11, 2023, while he was campaigning for a parliamentary seat in a poor suburb of Harare. His body was discovered two days later, near a river, with signs of torture.

Masaya, 51, was the founder and leader of the Christian Community Church, which had many followers across Zimbabwe. He was also a senior member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, which is led by Nelson Chamisa, the main rival of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Masaya was vying for the Mabvuku-Tafara constituency, where a by-election is due to take place on December 9, 2023. He was abducted along with the CCC’s candidate, Jeffrey Kalosi, who was later released.

The CCC has accused the government and its security forces of being behind the abduction and murder of Masaya, saying it was part of a wider campaign of terror and repression against the opposition. The party has demanded a full and independent investigation into the incident and justice for Masaya and his family. The party has also called on its supporters to remain peaceful and determined, and to continue mobilizing for the by-election.

The government has denied any role in the abduction and killing of Masaya, saying it was a criminal act that the police are investigating. The police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi, said the police had launched a probe into the matter and were pursuing some leads. He asked the public to cooperate with the police and provide any information that could help in the case.

Masaya’s death has drawn condemnation and sympathy from various local and international groups, including human rights organizations, civil society groups, and religious leaders. They have called for an end to the violence and impunity that have marred Zimbabwe’s politics for decades. They have also expressed solidarity with Masaya’s family and the CCC, and urged the government to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

Masaya is survived by his wife and four children. His funeral was held on November 18, 2023, in his hometown of Mabvuku, where thousands of people came to pay their last respects. Masaya was laid to rest amid chants of “Rest in power, hero” and “The struggle continues” by his supporters and fellow activists.