Govt denies human rights abuse claims

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By Alois Vinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has moved to dismiss wide claims of rampant human rights abuses in the country describing the reports as the “works of detractors bent on tarnishing the country’s image”.

Mnangagwa, who ascended to power on the back of a popular military assisted coupled 2017, has come under fire for visiting brutalities on opponents and government critics.

His rule has seen protesters gunned down in broad daylight by the military while state security agents have of late resorted to abductions and torture on government critics.

Security forces last Friday pulled rank and brutally stopped anti-government protests that were planned for July 31.

Days ahead of the protest, whistle blowing journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume were arrested and charged with inciting violence against the state.

Several known government critics and activists, among them journalists, were forced to go underground with state agents hot on their trail.

The events in Harare, coupled with prior acts of brutalities by the State, have invited wide condemnation from within and outside the country with top world celebrities joining the call to have the Zanu PF administration censured for its excesses.

However, in a statement, Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana said the “false allegations of human rights and crisis in the country” are being peddled by known political activists, misinformed individuals and global actors.

“To set the record straight, there is no crisis implosion in Zimbabwe. Neither has there been any abduction or war on citizens,” he said.

Mangwana said enforcement of the current Covid-19 lockdown regulations was intended to safeguard and protect the lives of all citizens and were distant from any alleged attempt by the under-fire government to take advantage and abuse the fundamental rights of citizens.

“Where necessary, the law has been fairly applied. The deliberate attempt to smear the country’s image is betrayed by the use of doctored images, old video clips and highly exaggerated claims on social media all intended to paint a picture of a burning Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mangwana said contrary to the claims, Zimbabwe remains peaceful with all citizens being free to go about their business as usual within the boundaries set by the lockdown regulations.

He said Mnangagwa‘s so-called Second Republic believed in upholding the rule of law and freedom of speech which was unfortunately being abused by those who sought to push a sinister political agenda.

Mangwana called on all government allies in the region and internationally not to forget that Zimbabwe has for long suffered external attempts to destabilise it because of the bold stance it took two decades ago to repossess tracts of land from former white owners of European descent.

He said the efforts have in the past taken many forms, from attempted insurgency to the current organised smear campaign using “blatantly false claims.”