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Zimbabwe: Opposition accuses ruling party of attacks on its leader Nelson Chamisa

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Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Opposition

Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the MDC Alliance has condemned an attack on its leader Nelson Chamisa. While in his car shortly after a political meeting, Nelson Chamisa was reportedly shot at this time, the second attack in two weeks.

The party claims just before the latest attack, a dozen cars without license plates followed Chamisa's convoy.

The MDC alliance accuses the ruling Zanu PF of launching the attacks.

_"Zanu-PF seem to be graduating from a defect physical ban to elimination, to assassination attempts, so they are upping the gear, they are upping the ante because they are more afraid of 2023 than they are of 2018." says _Tendai Biti, Vice president for the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-Alliance).

On October 10, the party reported that around 200 villagers, suspected to have been mobilised by the ruling Zanu-PF, barricaded roads and hurled rocks at their cars in the southern Masvingo region.

"This political violence is cause for extreme concern and a clear act of desperation by a bankrupt, illegitimate regime that has failed," it added in a statement.

It said Chamisa was on his way to meet community leaders in the Masvingo area when the convoy was attacked.

Before the incident, anti-riot police had raided and dispersed a meeting at the private residence of the party's local leader in the area.

Zanu PF and its supporters have, however, accused Chamisa of stage-managing the attacks to draw the attention of the international community. Government spokesman Nick Mangwana dismissed the attack as stage-managed "dramas", allegations the opposition has denied.

The opposition says they have now sought help from regional bloc SADC.

".. I have called for an external referee in the form of SADC, who have a duty to protect life, who have a duty to preserve life, who have a duty to make sure that our differences are managed and they remanded through dialogue." Tendai Biti hinted.

Political tensions have risen in Zimbabwe ahead of presidential elections in two years. Nelson Chamisa is expected to challenge the current head of state, Emmerson Mnangagwa, for the second time.

Late last month, 19 people, including 10 journalists, were arrested during a protest in front of the electoral commission in Harare where preparations were underway for the second polls since Robert Mugabe was deposed in a coup in 2017.

Mugabe, who died in 2019, was deposed by Mnangagwa.