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EU, US Castigate Mnangagwa’s Human Rights Abuse Record

The diplomatic missions assigned to Zimbabwe have castigated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s heavy-handedness on opposition and civil society members as police continue to use maximum force on protestors.

Last week, the police beat up opposition members who had gathered to protest against deteriorating living conditions in Zimbabwe which have been worsened by the high cost of living against poor remuneration and high unemployment figures.

Several people were beaten while others sustained injuries.

In a joint statement, the diplomatic missions said they are concerned with the continued harassment of those opposed to Mnangagwa and his government.

“Intimidation, harassment and physical attacks on human rights defenders, trade union and civil society representatives, and opposition politicians – Prior to, during and following the demonstration in Harare on 16 August – are cause for great concern.

“The Zimbabwean Constitution guarantees the right to personal security from violence and prohibits physical or psychological torture. The Heads of Mission urge the authorities to respect these fundamental rights, and to hold perpetrators of violence legally responsible,” read the statement.

The Heads of Mission further called on the authorities to respect the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression as well as to peaceful protest and urged all political party leaders and supporters to abstain from threats and incitement to violence as well as acts of violence or vandalism.

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Last week, the government said it was “concerned” over the torture and harassment of civil society members as it pushed the blame on unknown assailants.

The country is currently under a tense atmosphere as the MDC party has been organizing demonstrations, which have either ended in violence or have been thwarted by the police or banned by the courts.

The violence witnessed over the past few days will do more harm to Mnangagwa’s re-engagement agenda.

Yesterday’s demonstration which was scheduled for Bulawayo failed to materialize after police in heavy combat gear spent the day milling in the central business district.

The Diplomatic missions called on the security forces to adhere to their Constitutional mandate and exercise restraint and proportionality while maintaining public order.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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