Mugabe’s fight for survival leaves many badly bruised

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Silvanos Mudzvova was just a popular theatre producer until three months ago when street protests erupted against long serving President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mudzvova, has a number of politically charged plays under his belt that have landed him in trouble with the police over the years.

But, nothing had prepared him for an abduction by suspected supporters of President Mugabe at gunpoint.

On September 13, the artiste was dragged from his Harare home by unknown men who took him to a bush where they applied electric shocks to his toes and genitals.

He was also reportedly injected with an unknown substance and left for dead by the roadside outside the capital.

Mr Mudzvova’s crime was that he is a member of one of the leading protest movements that have emerged in Zimbabwe this year, calling on President Mugabe to resign.

The actor and playwright, a member of Tajamuku (We Have Rebelled) group, was admitted to a Harare hospital with various injuries.

“My stomach developed some challenges (as a result of the torture) and they (doctors) want to sort it out,” reads a post on Facebook.

“Remain strong and continue fighting for freedom. Hunger is pushing us and they can’t stop us now.”

After three months of relentless protests against his rule, President Mugabe was fighting back with hundreds of political prisoners now languishing in the country’s jails after they were arrested during many demonstrations that have rocked Harare.

Several other activists who have been leading daily protests against the failure by the 92-year-old leader’s government to revive a comatose economy have been left nursing severe injuries after being tortured by police while in custody.

On September 17, opposition activists tried to defy a police ban on protests in Harare, inviting a backlash from the law enforcement agents.

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Three women arrested during the latest wave of protests revealed shocking wounds on their backsides during a court appearance.

Opposition activists said they were tortured while in police custody.

YOUTH MILITIA

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), accused President Mugabe’s government of copying Islamic State (ISIS) tactics to silence dissenters.

“The level of brutality, callousness and barbarism that has been recently exhibited by the Zanu-PF thugs in police uniform will certainly make ISIS green with envy,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said, as he condemned police brutality during the protests.

“Zimbabwe is now a police state,” the MDC added in a statement condemning the abduction and torture of Mr Mudzvova.

“We would like to see the perpetrators of this heinous crime promptly arrested and prosecuted,” the party said.

“The thugs and hoodlums who abducted and tortured (Mr) Mudzvova are members of the Zanu-PF regime’s security apparatus.

“We cannot allow our beloved country to degenerate into a banana republic that is run by an intolerant, heartless, cruel and corrupt mafia.”

Opposition parties say besides police brutality during demonstrations, state security agents were raiding their supporters’ homes and abducting those suspected to be in the forefront of the protests.

Zanu-PF has been accused of reviving its youth militia, which was now targeting President Mugabe’s critics.

Even Members of Parliament were not spared this state-sponsored orgy of violence, banditry and thuggery.

Women activists claimed some people arrested during the demonstrations had been raped while in police custody.

Justice for Women, an organisation advocating the rights of women and girls, said it had recorded several cases of abuse by police since the protests began.

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