Mnangagwa Reverts to Mugabe-Era Authoritarianism
After the liberation struggle, followed by decades of working closely with the state’s coercive apparatus to govern Zimbabwe, violence has become a deeply ingrained part of the ZANU-PF’s managerial DNA.
Photo: A defiant Hopewell Chin’ono raises his fist as he is whisked away by the police after bail hearings on July 23, 2020 (The Africa Report)
Tensions have been growing steadily in Zimbabwe since 2019 as a confluence of crises (health, financial and political) rock Mnangagwa’s administration. Hundreds of soldiers and police officers were deployed to major cities in late July 2020 ahead of a planned march called by the president of opposition Transform Zimbabwe party Jacob Ngarivhume, to draw attention to the country’s worsening economic situation. The security forces shut down shops and arrested activists while President Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa held press conferences to warn that all those who dared take to the streets would be dealt with harshly. This event was just an extra layer of unrest in an already tough season of strikes and protests organised by various trade unions.
A detailed analysis on the Zimbabwean government’s recent authoritarian clampdown on dissent: