EU, US concerned about spike in Zimbabwe violence

News24 Correspondent

Harare - The European Union and US officials in Zimbabwe said on Tuesday they were "concerned" about a spike in political violence that has seen clashes between youths from the main ruling Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change parties.

"The EU delegation is deeply concerned about recent incidents of violence against members of political parties. Inter- or intra-party political violence and intimidation are unacceptable everywhere," EU heads of mission in Harare said in a statement.

The US embassy said: "We call on all parties to respect the democratic principles that are set out in Zimbabwe’s constitution and which will contribute to a peaceful, just and democratic society."

On Saturday, two men were axed to death in Harare's Chitungwiza dormitory town allegedly by Zanu-PF youth chairperson Proud Mupambwa.

Independent news reports and the state broadcaster have hinted this may be linked to intra-party quarrels, though the official Herald newspaper avoids any mention of party membership in its report on Tuesday on Mupambwa's death in police cells.

Police say Mupambwa committed suicide.

Last Tuesday suspected Zanu-PF youths attacked MDC supporters in Harare's Mbare suburb. Three MDC supporters had to be treated in hospital, according to the opposition.

The violence has coincided with a renewed clampdown on government opponents by the authorities, with the arrests of more than 50 people last week.

Twenty-six people were reportedly arrested in an anti-government protest in Harare on Thursday.

Sixteen were arrested on Friday at a student demonstration in the centre of the capital.

The arrests, with claims of police assault have put the spotlight again on simmering discontent in Zimbabwe, which is facing a deepening economic crisis and mounting unemployment.