Zimbabwe CHAOS: Activists forced into hiding amid CRACKDOWN on fuel price hike protests

Legal challenges to the government’s actions have been set in motion today. Concerns of a return to aggressive one-party rule come in the mist of an economic crisis in the African country. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been forced to cancel his planned trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos to deal with the chaos at home.

Legal challenges to the government’s actions have been set in motion today. Concerns of a return to aggressive one-party rule come in the mist of an economic crisis in the African country. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been forced to cancel his planned trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos to deal with the chaos at home.

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CRIMSON TAZVINZWA|AIWA! NO!|Hundreds of activists remain in hiding in Zimbabwe, on the fifth day of the worst government crackdown since the ousting of Robert Mugabe.

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.

Pastor Evan Mawarire (in yellow top) arrives at Harare magistrates court.
Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

Pastor Evan Mawarire (in yellow top) arrives at Harare magistrates court.
Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

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.

zimbabwe protest emmerson mnangagwa economy fuel shop

Businesses, including banks, shops and government offices re-opened in Harare on Monday (Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo)

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.

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