Security forces in Zimbabwe are continuing to use torture and deadly force against people protesting against government restrictions and fuel hikes that have made petrol in that country the highest-priced in the world. Alarming pictures of security forces beating protesters shown round the world forced President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on an international visit to drum up foreign investment, to return before his original date, and take control of the situation. But little has changed since he arrived home earlier this week, and the violent crackdown is continuing. In a rare move, the Law Society of Zimbabwe has met with the Chief Justice, Luke Malaba, to raise concerns about the way that judicial officers are handling cases relating to the crackdown. They told him it appeared the courts were biased and that justice was not being meted out.
The bloodless transition to a post-Mugabe era brought hope that the country could emerge as a democracy governed by the rule of law. The elections at the end of July 2018 suggest otherwise.
Since the elections on 30 July, when Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), won an overwhelming majority and its new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa was elected as the country’s President, it has been business as usual for the country’s opposition supporters. They fled house-to-house raids by the military and buried people shot by soldiers in downtown Harare two days after the polls. Members of the main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, also reverted to what sometimes seems their default activity: litigating against what they say is unconstitutional behaviour by the authorities – this time in a fruitless attempt to challenge election results.