It is veritable witch-hunt against anyone who dares criticise the government.
This is how Amnesty International described the first year of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government after he rose to power on 26 August 2018. Twelve months that have disappointed anyone who had hoped that, with the end to the Mugabe era, the protection of human rights would improve.
The socio-economic conditions of Zimbabweans have also declined considerably. The price of fuel has skyrocketed and inflation has eroded salaries and caused a rise in the price of staple foods, like bread.
In this state of overall discontent, Mnangagwa began a heavy crackdown on the rights of freedom of expression, non-violent protests and association.
At the beginning of the year, on 14 January, police killed at least 15 protesters. At the end of April, the total number of people arrested for protesting had risen to 400; 22 of them are still pending serious charges for “subversion”.
Seven human rights defenders were also charged in May when they returned from the Maldives where they had participated at a workshop on non-violent protest tactics.
The penultimate repressive action took place in August when police announced a ban on a series of national protests against the economic crisis, and arrested 128 activists who were involved in organising them.
To conclude this list of human rights violations, on 21 August, Zimbabwean TV comedian Samantha Kureya was abducted outside her home, forced to drink sewage water, stripped and tortured because of her skits on police brutality.