In a 2020 Festivus report, presented to the US Upper House by US Senator Rand Paul, Senator Paul said President Mnangagwa is not a reformer and he will win the 2023 elections by hook and crook.
Paul was making his case on why the USAID must stop funding ZImbabwe’s democratic reform like paying NGOs to observe what he called “already rigged elections”. Paul said people now believe president Mnangagwa is worse than the man he toppled in 2017 President Robert Mugabe.
Mr Mnangagwa’s opponents now fear he is more dangerous than his predecessor. In his first 21 months in office, Mnangagwa had already imprisoned more people for subversion than Mugabe did in 37 years.
It seems retribution was not just limited to opposition politicians. In the wake of the elections, Foreign Policy reported on soldiers firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians protesting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commissions failure to announce the outcome of the country’s July 30 2018 presidential election in a timely fashion, as well as on-going reports of soldiers beating and abducting civilians in the suburbs surrounding the country’s capital Harare is a hotbed of opposition politics,
Shortly after the 2018 election, police reportedly raided MDC Alliance headquarters arrested 27 people and took away computers. Security forces issued warrants of arrest to MDC prime ministerial candidate Nelson Chamisa and the party’s leaders although Chamisa himself was not arrested for instigating violence.
Mnangagwa tends to turn to the military, which helped him initially gain power, to keep the population in check, rather than depend on militias and police as Mugabe did.