The heavy-handedness exhibited by security forces in dispersing protestors in central Harare on 16 August will harm President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts, observers told the Daily News.
Human Rights Watch director for southern Africa, Dewa Mavhinga had this to say:
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Regrettably, the heavy-handedness of the police, and the brutality with which they crushed a peaceful protest points to a regime that has not changed from its past of serious human rights abuses.
The August 16 police brutality is at odds with Mnangagwa’s repeated promises to usher in a ‘new dispensation’ that embraces democracy and human rights, and that gross rights abuses would become a thing of Zimbabwe’s past.
This negatively impacts on any government efforts at international re-engagement, to enable Zimbabwe to get international support and investors.
If the Mnangagwa government is serious about respecting the rule of law, then it should take steps to ensure that what happened on August 16 is never repeated.
Political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu told the publication that the police brutality exposes the real Mnangagwa and not what he had been telling the world. He said:
That response from the police and the message that Mnangagwa has been giving the world is contradictory. After all, action speaks louder than words.
What the police did reflects what the ruling party thinks. When they feel threatened they resort to violence.
This is the real Mnangagwa and not the one who talks of reforms, and the international community has to view him as such. It is a classical own goal.