Left Menu
Development News Edition

Zimbabwe rights groups say 6 activists abducted, beaten ahead of protests

Reuters | Harare | Updated: 15-08-2019 22:21 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 22:17 IST
Zimbabwe rights groups say 6 activists abducted, beaten ahead of protests
Image Credit: Flickr

Six Zimbabwean political activists were abducted from their homes at night and beaten by armed men this week, a coalition of rights groups said on Thursday, ahead of planned street demonstrations by the main opposition party. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which disputes Emmerson Mnangagwa's presidential election win last year, has called Friday's protest against the government's handling of the economy, which is facing its worst crisis in a decade.

The MDC has said the demonstrations will be peaceful, but police have said they believe the protest will turn violent. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of rights groups, said it suspected state security agents were behind the abductions and beatings of the rights activists accused of planning the protests.

"The developments so far point to a real risk that the people of Zimbabwe's fundamental freedoms are once again in danger and this must be stopped before it gets out of control," Jestina Mukoko, who chairs the forum, told reporters. "Sadly, these developments remind us of the atrocities committed earlier this year in January," she said, referring to a military crackdown on violent protests that led to the death of more than a dozen people.

Mnangagwa's government said while police were investigating the abductions, it believed a "third force" comprising supporters of former leader Robert Mugabe were behind them. Nick Mangwana, secretary at the information ministry, said in a statement that three abductions had been reported to the police.

Mangwana pointed a finger at disgruntled former members of Mugabe's government, saying they were determined to soil Mnangagwa's reputation through "various acts of malice and criminality to cause both local and international outrage". The U.S. embassy in Harare said in a statement it was concerned by the torture allegations and urged protesters to be peaceful. It said political dialogue and political and economic reforms were the answer to Zimbabwe's problems.

Authorities are jittery following violence that rocked the country in January when protests against a sharp fuel price rise resulted in the looting of shops. When the army was deployed, some protesters were shot and rights groups said dozens of activists were seized from their homes in night raids and badly beaten by security agents.

Police spokesman Paul Nyathi said law enforcement officers had recovered stones and catapults stashed in central Harare, that he said were part of the evidence that showed that Friday's demonstrations would be violent. He said he was not aware of the abductions.

Since Wednesday the police have increased patrols in Harare ahead of the MDC protests, which the party said would be rolled out in other cities next week. Soaring inflation is eroding wages and pensions, bringing back memories of hyperinflation a decade ago. Shortages of hard currency, fuel, electricity, and bread have added to public anger at Mnangagwa's government.

Hopes that the economy would quickly recover and political rights would be expanded after Mugabe was removed in a coup in 2017 have turned to despair amid the economic hardship.

Also Read: China factory put teens on night shift to make Amazon devices - activists



Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...


Latest News

Brazilian environmentalist Sirkis killed in car crash

Environmentalist Alfredo Sirkis, a founder of Brazils Green Party and a tireless campaigner for policies to curb climate change, died on Friday in a car crash, television network TV Globo said. Sirkis, 69, was killed when the car he was dri...

Multiple protests against French minister accused of rape

Chanting Impunity is Over or dancing against sexual violence, womens rights activists protested Friday in multiple cities in France and abroad against President Emmanuel Macrons appointment of a new interior minister who is accused of rape ...

'It just doesn't feel safe:' U.S. parents, teachers worry about reopening schools

Brenda Del Hierro was not so thrilled with distance learning when her kids were sent home in March to when the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, yet the Los Angeles mom said she was not convinced it would be safe to send them back to the clas...

U.S. slaps French goods with 25% tariff over digital tax, but delays effective date

The Trump administration on Friday said it would slap additional duties of 25 on French imports valued at 1.3 billion in response to Frances new digital services tax but would delay implementation of the new tariffs for up to 180 days.The U...

Give Feedback