By Leopold Munhende
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has taken after former President Robert Mugabe’s regime through use of abductions and torture as a means of silencing government critics, a Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) report has said.
According to the report, which focusses on politically motivated rights violations in June this year, there was a 74,4% increase in abductions and intimidation by state security agents whose brutality reached scary heights under Mugabe.
“Cases recorded during the month show that President Mnangagwa’s government is getting increasingly intolerant of dissent. This could explain the 30% increase in violations from the Month of May to June from 157 to 204.
“Indications in the month of June are that there is a marked increase in abductions and intimidation allegedly perpetrated by state security agents; a surge of 74, 4% cases from the month of May to June,” the report indicates.
“Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists, labour union representatives from Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and anyone suspected of planning protests against the worsening economic conditions that the country is facing have all been targeted.”
ZANU PF stronghold Mashonaland Central province proved to be the hotspot according to the report with 40% of all cases being reported there followed by capital Harare at 14,3% and Mashonaland East at 12,4%.
ZPP noted that cases of food aid discrimination in favour of Zanu PF supporters were still common with cases increasing from 27 in May to 33 in June.
Mugabe’s feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives, police’s para-military Support Unit and the army were used to quell protests or silence any dissenting voice during his time as head of state.
Adds the ZPP report, “Abductions and intimidation violations are on the increase. It is sad to note that the Mnangagwa administration has resorted to the same tricks of ruling through harvesting of fear the same way former President Robert Mugabe’s government did to ensure consent and stamp dissent from its citizens.”
The report notes incidents of intimidation in Gutu, Gokwe, Harare and Masvingo by some Zanu PF officials or members of state security.
Recently, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure was abducted by suspected state security agents from his Harare home in the presence of his wife, tortured at an unspecified place before being stripped naked and dumped at a secluded area.