Human rights group slams Mnangagwa threats on protesters

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Harare – Statements made by Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa that government would ‘deal with’ those suspected of being behind last month’s stay-away protests in the country were “deeply troubling”, said Amnesty International on Monday.

Amnesty’s international deputy regional director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said: “President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s unfortunate comments are deeply troubling and unwarranted. Coming off the heels of Amnesty International’s [exposé] of a systematic targeting of dissent during the national ‘stay-away’ period, they affirm that his government used security forces, including military personnel, to brutalise people who were protesting. This latest threat is a sinister hint that the situation could become even worse.”

Mwananyanda said that if the Zimbabwean government wanted to build an inclusive country that was based on respect for human rights, Mnangagwa should accommodate differing views, “whether they please his government or not”.

Amnesty International recently released a briefing that documented a systematic crackdown on dissent during the national stay-away between 14 and 16 January.

The briefing revealed numerous human rights violations – including killings and torture – that took place during the upheaval.