The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a human rights monitoring group, says the country’s democratic space has shrunk significantly since President Emmerson took over from the late Robert Mugabe in November 2017 through a popular military coup.
In its monthly report for June 2021 titled “Wave after wave of human rights violations,” the ZPP said bad governance had dented the Mnangagwa government. It said:
In post-coup Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has continued to record wave after wave of human rights violations as the democratic space continues to narrow.
Criticising the government has easily become a reason for one to get arrested, harassed, detained or denied access to government services.
Since the coup, the government of Zimbabwe has been vicious towards pro-democracy campaigners and opposition activists with numerous arrests made, most of them based on flimsy allegations.
Among those harassed are MDC Alliance officials Zengeza West legislator, Job Sikhala, Harare West representative, Joana Mamombe, as well as activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
MDC Alliance youth assembly chairperson, Tererai Obey Sithole, is out on bail facing charges of allegedly leading anti-government protests.
Youth wing member, Makomborero Haruzivishe, is serving a jail sentence for encouraging people to demonstrate against the police.
Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono also has pending cases at the courts, while MDC Alliance co-vice presidents, Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore, were arrested in central Harare on 19 June 2020.
The ZPP, in its report, also claimed that there was a conflation of the ruling ZANU PF and government. It added:
The line between government and the ruling party has been violated, continues to fade and in all this, the ordinary citizen is the most affected.
ZPP said it recorded a wave of evictions and demolitions resulting from the government’s policy inconsistencies, corruption and interference in local authorities.
The watchdog said Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers topped the list of human rights violators in June 2021, accounting for 44 per cent of the transgressions.
It also noted the politicisation of food aid, with opposition party supporters victims of exclusion from aid provided by both independent donors and the government.