Life is more brutal than ever for Zimbabweans since Mogabe’s forceful resignation

Zimbabwean pastor and activist Evan Mawarire who led a popular revolt against Robert Mugabe was arrested and sent to Harare’s Magistrates Court. It’s been just over two months since Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe died, and almost two years since he was overthrown from office, but some Zimbabweans say life is harder than ever. Mogebe after 37 years in power surprisingly stepped down in 2017 which gave the people of Zimbabwe extreme jubilation, however, it was short lift when the new Government continued their service to the people like nothing just happened.  Pastor, activist, and also founder of the ‘’ThisFlag movement’’; Evan Mawarire was one of those who rejoiced when Mugabe was released of his duties. Pastor Mawarire grew popular in 2016 when he covered himself in a Zimbabwean flag and protested against government’s corruption and lack of accountability in a video that was published online.

The pastor’s protests soon grew popular and caught the attention of the Mugabe regime who detained him for “inciting public violence.” Mawarire however was released a day later after mounting public pressure. “Seeing Robert Mugabe step down was unbelievable,”…”The atmosphere was just euphoric. It was something none of us expected to see in our lifetime.” Mawarire exclaimed. “The expectation was that from here on truly things are going to get better because there’s no way they can get worse. Robert Mugabe was the worst’’, he added.

However, two years later, since Mugabe’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has been in command, conditions have worsened. The economy of Zimbabwe has fallen drastically with inflation now hovering around 300%.

In addition, a fierce shutdown on any type of criticism of the government and the future of Zimbabwe looks desolate. “We’re in a country where the basic freedoms that are provided for in the constitution for citizens are being blatantly violated. People are not allowed to speak freely, the amount of arrests that have taken place of people who have spoken out or against the government is shocking,” said Mawarire.He also alerges that, “In just two years, Emmerson Mnangagwa has charged more people who have spoken out against the government than Robert Mugabe did in 37 years.” “It’s what I saw in that prison that was deeply, deeply traumatizing and disturbing,” Mawawire added. “The men who had been arrested and taken from their homes and falsely accused of participating in this protest had been beaten. Many of them had broken limbs and we also had a lot of underage people arrested. I think the youngest was 15 years old.” He said that’s when he understood how far the regime was willing to go to silence any opposition.

People are being seriously tortured, assaulted and abducted should they do or say anything against the ruling Government. A well-known comedian, Samantha Kureya, was also reportedly abducted in August after publishing a skit on police brutality. She said she was taken by masked men from her house, assaulted and forced to drink sewage water over several hours, before being dumped naked on the side of the road.

President Mnangagwa has said previously that his regime will apply “the rule of law without exception.” And it should be known that ‘’under the Second Republic, the rule of law shall be applied without exception. My Government will not allow the abuse of the constitutionally enshrined democratic rights and freedoms … Acts of subversion, lawlessness and civil delinquency disguised in whatever manner will not be condoned. The law will apply without fear or favor,” he said at the funeral of one of his army chief. Different levels of brutality

Mawarire is still awaiting trial after eleven months of his arrest.  Mawarire in October at the Oslo Freedom Forum in New York, explained how his parents had to sign over the title deeds of their property to the government, in order for him to be released on bail.

He says “there is a difference between protesting under Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he says they are different levels of brutality under both Government. He added that, violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe. Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated. Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll 3/4kill people and he’s done it. He’s prepared to deploy the military with live ammunition and shoot into a group of protesters. He’s done that twice in two years.”

As Zimbabwe’s economy continues to spiral into free flow and protesters are met with force, a sense of hopelessness encircles the country, said Mawarire as health care is very poor due to daily power cuts and an acute shortage of both medicines and fuel, and unemployment is at its peak.

On top of that, a severe drought has led to a hunger crisis in Zimbabwe with more than two million Zimbabweans at risk of starvation according to the Wolrd Food Programme. In June, the UN estimated that more than 5 million people which is a third of the country’s population, will need food and humanitarian assistance by next year.

“As long as Zanu-PF is in power, as long as the same people are running the country … there will be no change, It’s the same bus, different driver,” said Mawarire, in a reference to Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, which has been in power in Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980.