Harare – An activist who was brutally tortured in troubled Zimbabwe last week is to be operated upon Monday.
Sylvanos Mudzvova, 38, said on Facebook that his stomach “had developed some challenges” and doctors “want to sort it out”.
It’s not clear if the operation has been necessitated by the torture he received last week at the hands of what many believe were state agents who abducted him from his home in front of his family on Tuesday night.
A member of the Tajamuka pressure group, Mudzvova has been recovering in a private hospital in Harare after passersby later found him unconscious, having been tortured on his genitals and feet and injected with an unknown substance.
Longtime president Robert Mugabe has said “our patience has run out” with a wave of protests against government-fuelled corruption and poverty that began online in April with a post from a Harare pastor, Evan Mawarire.
Mawarire has since fled into exile. Tajamuka, which means We are Agitated, is one of the groups that’s stepped into the breach, holding flash protests and drumming up courage for the anti-Mugabe movement.
Protests were held again on Saturday in several towns and cities across the country, this time calling for electoral reforms ahead of polls in 2018 that Mugabe, though ageing, may still stand in.
Definitive figures for the number of those arrested on Saturday are difficult to obtain. Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi put the number at 21, while Tajamuka has not revised its initial count of 87.
Police – and some in the independent media – have since hit out at over-excited reports on the demonstrations.
Media watchdog @ZimMediaReview said in reference to a claim in a private weekly on Sunday: “Parts of Harare were indeed tense/violent, but to say all of Zim resembled ‘a war zone’ may not be factual.”
“Sadly, in truth, the credibility problem in Zim media extends beyond state media,” the watchdog added in a tweet.
In the last 16 years Zimbabwe’s press has been as deeply divided as its political playing field – but it’s normally state media that comes in for criticism for its unashamedly pro-Mugabe line.