In response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s statement that the government will deal with those suspected to be behind the national ‘stay-away’ protests, including non-governmental organizations, trade union leaders, opposition leaders, doctors and lawyers, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa said:
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s unfortunate comments are deeply troubling and unwarranted. Coming off the heels of Amnesty International’sexpose of a systematic targeting of dissent during the national ‘stay-away’ period, they affirm that his government used security forces, including military personnel, to brutalize people who were protesting. This latest threat is a sinister hint that the situation could become even worse.
“If his government wants to build an inclusive country that is based on respect for human rights, President 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.
In it, the organization exposes a crackdown on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly as the authorities sought to crush protests against fuel price hikes. In the process numerous serious human rights violations were perpetrated including killings and torture.