Soldiers and unidentified armed men conducted door-to-door searches in poor areas of cities on Friday, dragging “random” residents out of homes to be beaten and often detained, activists said. The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said it had treated 68 cases of gunshot wounds and 100-plus other cases of “assaults with sharp objects, booted feet, baton sticks” and more in recent days.
Evan Mawarire, a rights activist, is the most prominent of hundreds of people, also including four opposition lawmakers, detained on public order charges on Friday following violent protests against a fuel price hike.
Mr Mnangagwa announced a 150 percent increase on fuel prices last week.
The lawyer for the activist, Beatrice Mtetwa, said he would seek bail at the High Court after being charged with subversion.
Police say three people died during the unrest, but lawyers and human rights groups say evidence suggests at least a dozen were killed while scores were treated for gunshot wounds.
On social media on Monday, many Zimbabweans said the clampdown had the hallmarks of Mnangagwa’s deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, a retired general who led the coup that toppled former leader Robert Mugabe in November.
But the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Mnangagwa – nicknamed “Crocodile” during his time as a high-ranking official in Mugabe’s strong-arm administration – was similar in outlook.
“These two walk the same path, they may have a different approach from time to time but the objective is the same.