from MERCY MUJURU in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – ZIMBABWEAN soldiers and unidentified gunmen are accused of intensifying a crackdown on supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the wake of last week’s post-election protests in the capital Harare.
Scores of people in the high-density suburbs in the city have reportedly been beat up and harassed over the last few days as the security forces and unknown men searched for opposition party officials.
Human rights groups have reported the crackdown in the opposition strongholds of Chitungwiza, Dzivarasekwa, Glen Norah, Glen View, Highfields, Kuwadzana and Seke.
Soldiers, in groups of 4 to 10, allegedly beat up people in bars and restaurants, accusing them of “letting down” President Emmerson Mnangagwa, after MDC Alliance candidate, Nelson Chamisa, won the majority of votes in Harare.
Mnagangwa, the candidate of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was declared the national winner in a poll the opposition claimS was rigged.
The army killed six civilians during post-election protests in Harare last week.
Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said Mnangagwa’s administration must act quickly to restore its integrity and commitment to the rule of law.
“With soldiers unleashing violence against ruling party opponents, the veneer of respect for human rights and democratic rule that President Emmerson Mnangagwa claimed is now clearly gone,” Mavhinga said.
Critics accuse Mnangagwa and his allies of turning Zimbabwe into a military state after soldiers overthrew the then-President Robert Mugabe in a coup last November.
Overson Mugwisi, the Zimbabwe Defense Forces spokesperson, denied soldiers’ involved in the alleged harassment of civilians.
– CAJ News