When President Mugabe was forced out of office everyone breathed a sigh of relief thinking that the days of tyranny were now far behind us. Little did we know that worse was yet to come in the disguise of ”A new Dispensation” under the leadership of President Mnangagwa.
For the first time ever since Zimbabwe gained Independence people were gunned down by both police and soldiers who were using live ammunition, in broad daylight. In February 2018 barely 3 months after President Mnangagwa took office, 3 unarmed civilians were shot dead by the police, 6 people were shot dead by the army on the 1st of August 2018 and at least 30 people had gunshot wounds after the army opened fire in January 2019. No one was ever brought to account for the shootings and the lives that were lost showing the government’s blatant disregard for the people of Zimbabwe.
Added to the shootings there has been an increase of arbitrary arrests, abductions and torture of civil society leaders, opposition leaders and ordinary civilians whom the government perceive to be a threat to their leadership. On the 20th of May 2019, Tatenda Mombeyarara, George Makoni, Frank Mpahlo, Gamuchirai Mukura and Farirai Gumbonzvanda, a 26 year old woman who volunteers for the Rozaria trust, were arrested and charged with treason because they had attended a training event in Prague. The government’s paranoia and need to suppress people is so great that prison and court life has become a daily occurrence in the lives of some civic society leaders and some members of the opposition party.
On the 14th of August 2019, Tatenda Mombeyarara was abducted and tortured by six men leaving him with a broken leg, fractured hand, damaged kidneys and chemical burns on his skin. All this occurred because they wanted to know what had transpired at a workshop that he had attended in the Maldives and they also accused him of sponsoring and organising the demonstration that had been called for the 16th of August 2019. Tatenda now has life altering injuries but nothing will ever happen to the perpetrators of these crimes.
The bottom line is that this new level of callousness from both the police and the army will continue to persist because President Mnangagwa allows it.