By Leopold Munhende
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF tops the list of organisations that disregarded basic human rights and tortured opponents last year.
This is according to a recent report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
The report, which covers the whole of 2018 and part of this year, details how Mnangagwa’s so-called new dispensation has failed to distinguish itself from the brutal regime once led by the now late former President Robert Mugabe.
The report paints a dark image of a troubled nation that was hoping for a new start after an army led coup that toppled Mugabe in November 2017.
“Torture by the security forces remained a mainstay of government’s abuse of human rights. Individuals who were arrested were assaulted in custody, or at the point of arrest.
“According to one NGO… ZANU PF supporters committed 35% of the violations, ZRP committed 31% and the army committed 22%,” reads the report.
“Most of the cases, about 39%, occurred in Harare. Over 51% of the victims were associated with the opposition MDC Alliance, while about 10% were associated with other smaller independent political parties.”
Zanu PF has, in the past, been accused of using violence and intimidation on citizens, especially villagers thought to be pro-MDC.
The party has also been accused of politicising government food aid, distributing it along party lines to starve their rivals’ supporters.
Although there were very few incidences of violence preceding the 2018 harmonised elections, the state has been accused of dressing some Zanu PF youths in police and army uniform before unleashing them on protesting trade unionists or opposition members.
The army and police have been at the forefront of human rights abuses since Mnangagwa’s take over with the military killing some six unarmed civilians on August 1 last year and more in January this year.