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Zimbabwe: Beating and torture allegations emerge after election
18/09/2023 19:53 in Africa News

There are signs that Zimbabwe has entered a new era of brutal oppression, even as newly elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa publicly speaks  of “peace, love, harmony and tolerance.” ”.


 Behind these comments, more than a dozen opposition figures from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) - from elected officials to bureaucrats and activists - were arrested by police over the following three weeks  election, the party said.


 Others were targets of violent kidnappings.


 Among those arrested recently was opposition CCC MP and councilor Maureen Kademaunga, who appeared in court this week on charges of attempted murder and malicious damage to property.


 Her lawyer said the court decided there was no evidence against her.


 “There is a widespread crackdown against the opposition, including the use of law enforcement and the judiciary,” human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart told the Associated Press.  In another incident, just a week after being elected as a local councilor of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Womberaishe Nhende and a relative were taken out of a car by unidentified men, shot with  stun gun and handcuffs.


 According to their lawyer, they were then put in a  truck and driven about 70 kilometers to the capital Harare,  where they were flogged, beaten with batons, interrogated and injected with an unknown substance.


 Nhende recounted his experience and showed his injuries in a video released by  CCC, ZANU-PF's closest rival in the election.


 After being questioned about the CCC party's plans after August's controversial and troubled national election, the ordeal ended when the two men were dumped naked near a fish, the lawyers said. river.


 These stories are not new in the Southern African nation, which has a long history of violence and intimidation against the opposition  ZANU-PF  during its 43 years in power. More than 15 years ago, then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was photographed by the world's media with his face swollen and severely bruised, one eye completely closed, after being arrested by police during his reign. famous autocratic leader Robert Mugabe and was brutally beaten.


 Mnangagwa, a former guerrilla  known as "the crocodile", won a second presidential term  last month in an election dismissed by the CCC as flawed and criticized by international and regional observers. area of ​​suspicion, who have cited a variety of problems, including a climate of fear and intimidation. .


 It appears to remain a mainstay in Zimbabwe, six years after Mugabe was ousted in a coup and replaced by Mnangagwa in 2017.


 Mnangagwa and his party have repeatedly denied accusations that they use repression to crush dissent.


 However, the president, who turned 81 on Friday, dismissed the opposition's accusations as "boy noise" and threatened to jail "anyone who wants to be silly and spread chaotic".


 Mnangagwa's repeated claim that Zimbabwe is a mature democracy under his rule is considered a fallacy by many, including prominent international human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Little seems to have changed in a country with untapped potential in Africa, with rich agricultural land, mineral resources including the continent's largest lithium reserves and the potential for oil and gas discoveries. .


 Police announced a series of new  arrests of opposition figures last week.


 CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, who lost  the presidential election to Mnangagwa, said  his party was under siege and facing a backlash.


 The CCC said two of its lawmakers were recently  arrested. Other representatives were re-elected last month while in detention.  Party spokesman Promise Mkwananzi has fled the country after police said they were seeking to arrest him for failing to appear in court  in 2019, and accused him of assault and causing material damage.


Gift Siziba, deputy spokesperson of the CCC, was arrested for inciting violence during a football match.


Amnesty cited the case of another CCC activist who was allegedly kidnapped and tortured in the days after the election.


The CCC and analysts say there is an apparent post-election crackdown now that international observers have left.

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