Zim soldiers, gunmen, 'beating and harassing' opposition, group claims

Zimbabwean security forces and unidentified gunmen have beaten and harassed dozens of people in a crackdown on the political opposition following a disputed election, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

The allegation contradicts assertions by the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa that it has abandoned the state-sponsored violence and intimidation associated with the rule of former leader Robert Mugabe. It comes after soldiers last week opened fire on rioters, protesters and bystanders in Harare, an opposition stronghold. Six people were killed.

Human Rights Watch said it had documented "numerous cases" of soldiers beating up people in some Harare bars and restaurants since the August 1 shootings. The military accused the people of undermining Mnangagwa because most votes in the Zimbabwean capital went to the opposition, according to the international rights group.

* To follow the latest on the Zimbabwe elections SIGN UP TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

The group also reported a case in which six masked men broke into the house of a youth leader of the opposition, beat up some people and abducted two men.

"The masked men put the abducted men in a white double-cab truck and drove them to a secluded place along Masvingo road, then beat and kicked them for an hour before releasing them," said Human Rights Watch, which documented similar cases elsewhere.

Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe's foreign affairs minister and a retired army general, denied allegations that soldiers are beating people, reported The Herald, a state-run newspaper.

"All what we are realizing is that there is a lot of misinformation that is coming out from social media," Moyo told ambassadors and others in Harare on Monday, according to The Herald.

He said the military is "a well-trained and very disciplined force" that at one point "took over the responsibility of policing," a reference to the military takeover in November that led to the resignation of 94-year-old Mugabe after 37 years in power.

Also on Tuesday, 27 opposition activists who were arrested for allegedly inciting violence in Harare last week were released on bail.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Mnangagwa, who was a longtime enforcer for Mugabe, and the ruling party won the country's July 30 election. Mnangagwa has urged the opposition to join him in rebuilding the country's shattered economy, but the main opposition party alleges that the election results were rigged.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2251 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
48% - 9907 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7541 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 748 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.66
-1.6%
Rand - Pound
20.10
-1.3%
Rand - Euro
16.92
-1.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.55
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.9%
Gold
1,772.01
-0.2%
Silver
19.97
-0.9%
Palladium
2,146.00
-0.7%
Platinum
929.00
-1.0%
Brent Crude
92.34
-3.0%
Top 40
64,072
-1.0%
All Share
70,886
-0.9%
Resource 10
63,385
-3.1%
Industrial 25
87,077
0.0%
Financial 15
16,163
-0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE