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Emmerson-Mnangagwa (in file CoM)
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised on Tuesday to investigate a brutal crackdown by security forces on anti-government protesters, as two of his supporters spoke of a possible plot to remove him from office.
Lawyers and activists say police and soldiers have killed at least a dozen people, wounded scores and arrested hundreds since demonstrations began nine days ago following a hike in the price of fuel. Zimbabwe’s Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) accused security forces of systematic torture.
In his first public comments since cutting short a foreign trip, Mnangagwa said violence by security forces was “unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe.”
“Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll,” Mnangagwa wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, calling for a “national dialogue” involving churches, civil society and the opposition.
A lawyers group reported more rights violations since Mgangagwa’s return to Harare late on Monday, fuelling rumours of deep divisions within his government.
Two allies of Mnangagwa – a lawmaker of his ZANU-PF party, Mayor Wadyajena, and former deputy finance minister Terence Mukupe, said some members of the government were attempting to impeach him.
“They threatened to kill me and harm my family. I stand by @edmnangagwa… The plot is foiled, they lack numbers for impeachment,” Wadyajena posted.
A spokesman for Mnangagwa had said on Sunday the crackdown was a foretaste of how authorities would respond to future unrest.
In the clearest sign yet that Zimbabwe is sliding back into the authoritarian rule that characterised the regime of former leader Robert Mugabe, the ZHRC said on Tuesday that security forces instigated systematic torture of residents after last week’s unrest – during which police say three people died – turned violent.
The level of force used on those who died or were injured, and supported by medical reports, pointed to police brutality, a ZHRC commissioner told reporters.Source: Reuters
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