The Stream

Zimbabwe crackdown: Is Mnangagwa an authoritarian?

Rights groups say 12 killed and hundreds arrested as protests raged.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to investigate a wide-ranging crackdown on anti-government protests in which local rights groups say at least 12 people have been killed and hundreds rounded up.

The protests, sparked by a hike in fuel costs, began almost two weeks ago and prompted a nationwide shutdown during which the government blocked internet access – a move reversed on Monday by the high court.

Mnangagwa, who cut short a foreign tour to return to the country, defended the decision to increase fuel prices on Twitter. While pledging a probe of the security forces he also criticised the demonstrations, calling them violent.

Before winning a disputed election in July, Mnangagwa – once a close ally of former President Robert Mugabe – had promised a clean break from the governing style of Mugabe, who was often accused of authoritarianism and stifling dissent. Mnangagwa’s opponents, though, say they have seen little evidence of a promised economic revival or increased political freedoms.

In this episode, The Stream asks a panel of Zimbabweans where the country is headed.

On this episde of The Stream, we speak with: 
Farai Muvuti @FaraiMuvuti
UK/Europe Youth League Chairman

Tendai Marima @i_amten

Piers Pigou @PiersPigou
Southern Africa Consultant, Crisis Group

Makomborero Haruzivishe @MakomboreroH
Protestor, human rights activist

Read more:
Mnangagwa back in Zimbabwe, vows to probe protest crackdown – Al Jazeera
Zimbabwe activist pastor Mawarire arrested over fuel protests – Reuters

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