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Death of Political Activist in Zimbabwe Increases Fears of Crisis

An activist with Zimbabwe’s main opposition party was found dead on the side of a road in the capital, Harare, the police said on Tuesday. A party spokesman said he had been abducted while campaigning in a local election over the weekend.

The death of the activist, Tapfumanei Masaya, is the latest in what opposition and civil society leaders say has been a string of violent episodes fueling a growing political crisis in the southern African nation since national elections were held in August.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his governing ZANU-PF party maintained power in the August vote, despite doubts raised by regional and international observers about the election’s credibility.

Mr. Masaya, 51, a pastor, was campaigning door to door on Saturday to promote a candidate along with other members of the political party Citizens Coalition for Change when multiple S.U.V.s pulled up and attackers jumped out and chased them, said Gift Ostallos Siziba, a spokesman for the party.

When Mr. Masaya stopped to help a fellow activist who is disabled, the attackers pounced, beating them and taking them away in separate vehicles, Mr. Siziba said.

The attackers eventually dropped off the disabled activist, still alive, on the road but kept Mr. Masaya, Mr. Siziba said. He was discovered dead on Sunday, his body disfigured by the slashes of a machete, the spokesman said.

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