Unpacking Authoritarian Blockades: The State of Human Rights and Democratic Transition in Zimbabwe

The deployment of the army to clamp down on protests threatens to create a subject political culture where timid citizens watch the state conversion into a complete authoritarian regime. Since the lockdown began, there has been a worrying trend of state security brutality in communities who are caught in streets struggling to make ends meet. The 31st of July 2020 prompted a reiteration of the harrowing experience which has become a usual output of any army deployment in communities of Zimbabwe.

The government of Zimbabwe under the rule of Mnangagwa has resorted to use of violence, abductions, arrest and torture against citizens as a way to create a climate of fear. The Mnangagwa administration promised citizens a new dispensation – the Zimbabwe which citizens want, however, the regime has been characterised by corruption and more cases of human rights violations as compared to the Mugabe regime. Citizens have witnessed the abduction of opposition leaders, activists and journalists. These leaders and activists have been subject to torture and arrest due to their voices against state failure, constitutional amendments, corruption towards and during the premeditated July 31 protests.

Interview findings from various parts of Zimbabwe have shown an increase in incidents of abductions, arrests, harassment and torture by state agents targeting citizens, with the most affected areas being Harare, Bulawayo.

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Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI)