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Elections marred by arrests, abductions and torture of political activists, Amnesty International

By Amnesty International

Responding to the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa for his second term as President amid a political climate of fear and reports of multiple human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, abductions and torture of opposition party activists, Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, said:

“President Mnangagwa’s inauguration for his second term as President has been severely blighted by reports of attacks against opposition party activists and threats against those trying to organize peaceful protests amid a growing  crackdown on human rights, especially the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

“Nobody should be persecuted simply for exercising their human  rights. Everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, should be able to freely participate in peaceful activism without fear of abduction or harm. The Zimbabwean authorities must immediately stop issuing inflammatory statements that could incite attacks against  political activists, human rights defenders and other people.”

“The authorities also must ensure a peaceful post-election environment by fully respecting,  protecting and ensuring the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression. They must also conduct prompt, thorough, impartial, independent, effective and transparent investigations into pending cases of enforced disappearances, abductions, and torture. Those suspected of responsibility for these crimes must face justice in fair trials. Victims and their families must be provided with access to justice and effective remedies.”

Background

On 26 August 2023, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced that President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU PF party had secured re-election after gaining a majority of votes.

Cases of arrests, abduction, assault and torture have been reported both during and after the election. On 2 September 2023, Womberaiishe Nhende, the elected Councilor for Glen Norah Ward 27 in Harare, was abducted and tortured before being dumped on the outskirts of Harare.

Nhende was also among a group of individuals who were seriously injured during skirmishes with Zanu PF activists that led to the death of Tinashe Chitsunge, a political activist for the opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), on 3 August 2023.

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