HRW: Zimbabwe government forces beat dozens in political opposition crackdown

HRW: Zimbabwe government forces beat dozens in political opposition crackdown

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] stated [HRW report] on Tuesday that Zimbabwean police forces, soldiers, and a number of unidentified armed men violently attacked and harassed dozens of supporters of the Movement for Democratic Chance Alliance (MDCA) [official website] in a crackdown on political opposition.

Political unrest erupted in Zimbabwe following the election held in the country last week when Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s incumbent leader who assumed power after former President Robert Mugabe was impeached following the 2017 coup, narrowly defeated Nelson Chamisa, the MDCA candidate. Following the election, Chamisa claimed [Guardian report] that the reported results were fraudulent and illegitimate. On Tuesday, Chamisa posted to his Twitter:

I’ve just finished going thru the evidence per our agents & V11 forms from across Zimbabwe. We WON this election emphatically. ZEC’s figures are falsified & inflated in favour of the outgoing President. We are ready for the inauguration & formation of the next gvt #Godisinit

HRW stated that the government officials beat dozens of individuals as they searched for MDCA party officials. The group is claiming that soldiers, police, and other armed men are patrolling in groups of four to ten and assaulting people in public establishments. One man told HRW that, in response asking why he was being beaten, the group of armed men stated that it was because he voted for the “wrong candidate.” The reports of violence documented by HRW indicate that many of the acts of violence are targeting individuals who are known affiliates and supporters of the MDCA.

The Zimbabwean government has deniedany involvement in the violence [Daily News report].

In a joint statement [text], the EU and US issued a statement expressing their condolences to the victims and their families and condemned the attacks. They stated that “[t]hese human rights violations have no place in a democratic society and contravene the fundamental tenets of international human rights standards.”