The United States has said President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not committed to reforms following a spate of kidnappings and torture of government critics in what observers have described as state repression on dissenting voices.

Mnangagwa succeeded long time Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted through a coup in November 2017. He promised to reform Zimbabwe from the repressive state it was under his predecessor but recent events have led to the conclusions that Mnangagwa is actually worse than Mugabe.

In a statement through its Embassy in Harare, the US, which joined other western countries in condemning the heavy handedness of the Zimbabwean government on opposition demonstrators, urged Mnangagwa’s government to respect the Zimbabwean constitution.

“We remain concerned about more abductions, violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe…. (it) doesn’t reflect the government’s commitment to reforms. Freedom of speech and peaceful assembly are human rights protected by Zimbabwe’s constitution. Respect the constitution,” said the US.

The statement by the United States comes at a time when police arrested lawyer Douglas Coltart in Harare for asking the police why they were arresting members of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) for staging a sanctioned demonstration on Friday.

His father and MDC Alliance Treasurer General David Coltart said, “My son Doug Coltart has been detained and assaulted by riot police whilst representing his client ARTUZ in Harare. These photos were taken by Beatrice Mtetwa who is at Harare Central with him. Only police states detain and assault lawyers for representing their clients,” he said.

 

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